Lissitzky, El

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Lissitzky, El

(Eliezer Markovich Lissitzky) (lyĭsyēts`kē), 1890–1941, Russian painter, designer, teacher, and architect. Lissitzky studied at Darmstadt and later taught at the Moscow Academy of Arts, collaborating with avant-garde artists and architects. Begun in 1919, his series of abstract geometric paintings entitled Proun (an acronym for "project for the affirmation of the new"), as well as his many prints, were key works in Russia's suprematist movement (see suprematismsuprematism,
Russian art movement founded (1913) by Casimir Malevich in Moscow, parallel to constructivism. Malevich drew Aleksandr Rodchenko and El Lissitzky to his revolutionary, nonobjective art.
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). Lissitzky left Russia (1921) after Lenin issued an edict against the avant-garde. Living in Germany, he introduced suprematist and constructivist ideas to László Moholy-NagyMoholy-Nagy, László
, 1895–1946, Hungarian painter, designer, and experimental photographer. He turned to art after studying law. While living in Berlin he was one of the founders of constructivism, experimenting with photograms and translucent materials.
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 and had a significant influence on the BauhausBauhaus
, artists' collective and school of art and architecture in Germany (1919–33). The Bauhaus revolutionized art training by combining the teaching of classic arts with the study of crafts.
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 movement. Before returning (1928) to the Soviet Union he designed the Russian section of the Cologne Newspaper Exhibition, one of his many severely abstract exhibition designs. Lissitzky was also an important innovator in typography and advertising. His writings about architecture include Russia: The Reconstruction of Architecture in the Soviet Union (1930).

Bibliography

See biography by his wife, S. Lissitzky-Küppers (tr. 1968, repr. 1980); studies by V. Margolin (1997), M. Tuppitsyn (1999), and N. Perloff and B. Reed, ed. (2003).