Russia • 1890−1941
El Lissitzky (Lazar M. Lissitzky, November 22, 1890, p. Pochinok, Russian Empire – December 30, 1941, Moscow, USSR) – Russian painter, designer and architect, one of the key figures of the Russian avant-garde. Lissitzky, who is often called the first Russian designer who popularized and promoted the idea of Suprematism, developing and transforming them in accordance with their own vision. The artist's work has had a significant impact on Bauhausand the constructivists. His experiments with techniques and styles were largely decisive for the graphic design of the twentieth century.
Features of the artist El Lissitzky: in the early years the artist was doing illustrations for children's books in Yiddish. After meeting with Kazimir Malevichhe dedicated himself fully to Suprematism and its strict geometric forms. Later began to create three-dimensional designs called "fundamental" ("new project approval"), also in accordance with the Suprematist ideas. A lot of attention to design and architecture, representing the city, not as isolated buildings but as a single organism. In addition, Lissitzky created a series of propaganda posters for the Soviet government.
Famous works of El Lissitzky: "The wedge red beat white", "Everything for the front! Everything for victory! (Let's have more tanks)"the fundamental (1, 2, 3, 4), illustration for the book "Suprematist tale about two squares" (1, 2, 3) and "Mayakovsky. For voices" (1, 2, 3, 4).

Around the left so that Lazarus Lisitsky expect the unenviable fate. He was born into a Jewish family in the Russian Empire, which, among other things, was famous for anti-Semitic policies. He lived in Germany and even married a German woman. He promoted not too popular in Russia the ideas of Suprematism and constructivism. In the end, nearly 20 years he was terminally ill. But, surprisingly, Lissitzky managed to live a rich, interesting and incredibly creative life, a single step without departing from the intended course, and without betraying their ideals.

When Lissitzky was a child, his family periodically lived in Smolensk, Vitebsk. Showed early interest in painting, Lazarus began to take lessons from a local artist By Yudel Pen. In 1909 he tried to enter the art Academy in St. Petersburg, but he failed, because at that time training in higher educational institutions were allowed a very limited number of Jews. So, like most of them, Lissitzky went to study in Germany. The first world war forced him to return to Russia, but the revolution and change of government resulted in mostly positive changes. Lissitzky devoted himself to Jewish art: he organized exhibitions of local artists, illustrated books (including children's).

These works have become a powerful impetus to the creative career of Lissitzky. Thanks to them he met with many artists, played a further important role in his life. Later, he would refuse Jewish art and with a head dive into Suprematism. He will participate in a huge number of exhibitions, teaching at several art schools, to collaborate with The Bauhausand "Style" to illustrate books (and even write your own), will join the art of Malevich the group "UNOVIS", and if all this still finds time for production of propaganda for the Soviet regime. Perhaps that is why Lissitzky did not touch the "bloody purges" of the Stalinist regime. However, the artist, who considered himself primarily an architect, left a bright trace much more in Europe than in Russia. His ideas still embody, and now – much more readily than before. Probably Lissitzky was simply ahead of his time.

Red wedge

In 1919 Lissitzky at the invitation of longtime friend Marc Chagallagain moved to Vitebsk to teach at the newly opened National art school graphics, printed matter and architecture. Later also came Kazimir Malevich and a former teacher of Lissitzky Yudel Peng. It Malevich eventually became the cause of division in school, because his ideas were perceived, to put it mildly, cool. Chagall and many other teachers were supporters of figurative painting, and the public did not understand and did not want to take Suprematist paintings. However, Lissitzky was delighted with the works of Malevich, he was also attracted by clear geometric forms, and in the end, he completely abandoned Jewish painting. But despite a dedication to Suprematism, Lissitzky was still a close friend of Chagall, who was trying to adhere to classical forms and techniques. Malevich also cared little about the opinion of colleagues, his teaching policy was quite aggressive and it quickly spread its ideas throughout the school. Lissitzky was between two fires, he did not want to lose friendship with him, nor to abandon a new teacher. It ended up that Chagall because of "irreconcilable differences" had to leave the school. After that Lissitzky was fully dedicated to Suprematism and began to withdraw their work from the plane in the volume. And there was the famous fundamentalthat later evolved into architectones.

Unlike Malevich, who preached the Suprematism as a kind of philosophical idea, looks Lissitzky was purely practical. In the end, first and foremost he was the architect, and the main goal of most of his work was the construction of an ideal "city of the future". The artist said that his fundamental – "transfer station on the way from painting to architecture". Lifting geometric shapes from two-dimensional plane, giving them volume and infusing every element of strict functionality, Lissitzky creates plans and designs cities that, according to his plan, should look and exist like a single living organism. In these experiments the birth of famous horizontal skyscraperthat, however, was never implemented. Like most architectural plans Lissitzky. His only project, embodied in life, was the building of the printing house of the journal Ogonek in Moscow.

Further proof that Lissitzky was interested primarily not in the ideas, and their practical application, can be considered developed in 1930, the project economical apartments. It was a unique living space where all components are able to move with ease, allowing you to transform the apartment in accordance with the demands and needs of the owner.

Love and death

Sophie kueppers life was associated with the world of art. She was born in the family of the publisher, her first husband was an art historian and Director of the Center for contemporary art in Hanover, and together they gathered a small but very interesting collection of works by promising artists (including Kandinsky, Chagall and Klee). In 1922 Sophie was a widow, left with two young sons on hand. In the same year, the woman gets to Berlin for the exhibition, where for the first time sees the work of Soviet artist El Lissitzky. A personal acquaintance with him only added to the sense of excitement Sophie felt looking at the work of Lissitzky. Between them began a lively correspondence that lasted several years until in 1927 Lissitzky did kueppers formal offer hands and hearts.

Sophie was not afraid of the extreme disapproval of the groom's family, nor the fact that for the marriage, she had to move to Moscow for a long time after parting with her sons. Add to this unstable financial situation and an incurable disease Lissitzky. But kueppers already in 1930, took Soviet citizenship and moved to Moscow from Germany, their children, Kurt and Hans. In the same year Lisicki was born the son of Boris.

In 1923 Lissitzky suffered acute pneumonia and a few weeks later he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. From this moment until the end of his life the artist spent a lot of time and effort to the treatment, while never ceasing to work. However, at that time TB was still equal a death sentence. In the period of the novel in letters Lissitzky wrote Sophie that he removed one of his lungs. The remaining time he has to breathe halfway. In the end, the second lung is also beginning to fail. In the last months of his life Lissitzky lives deduced from the body out a silver tube from his one lung came out pus.

Sophie stayed with her husband until his last breath. Lissitzky did not survive the aggravation of the disease, and died at his home in Skhodnya at the age of 51 years. The artist was "lucky" not to get crushed by Stalinist repression and deal with the horrors of the Second world war. Had much worse in this respect sons kueppers and her. Kurt was arrested in Dresden in 1940 as "red", has lived 10 years in Russia, the stepson of a Jew. And on the same day when he died Lissitzky in Moscow was arrested Hans – eternal with the label "German". He met his death in the Urals, Kurt managed to get out alive from the Nazi camps. In 1944, Sophie along with Boris sent to Novosibirsk, where she lived the rest of his days. Fortunately she was able to save and export paintings, photographs and letters from Lissitzky. In the 60-ies, it transferred part of the archive of her husband in the Tretyakov gallery and wrote about the artist book. Oddly enough, the work of Lissitzky remains far more popular abroad than at home.

Author: Eugene Sidelnikov
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