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El Lissitzky (Lazar Lissitzky)

  • artist
  • designer
  • architect
1890
© Эль Лисицкий: "Конструктор (Автопортрет)", 1926

Lazar Lissitzky or El Lissitzky

Artist, designer and architect, one of the key figures of the historical avant-garde.

As a child, after the family moved to Vitebsk, he attended the private Drawing School of Yudel Pan. In 1919, at the invitation of Marc Chagall, he moved to Vitebsk, where he taught at the People's Art School. From 1919 to 1921 he was one of the active figures of the Vitebsk UNOVIS headed by Kazimir Malevich. In Vitebsk, Lissitzky creates his PROUNs - axonometric images of geometric bodies of various shapes in balance, either resting on a solid foundation, or, as it were, floating in outer space.

Lissitzky, who is often called the first Russian designer, popularized and promoted the ideas of Suprematism, developing and transforming them in accordance with his own vision. The artist's work had a significant impact on the Bauhaus and constructivists. His experiments with techniques and styles were in many ways defining for the graphic design of the twentieth century.

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Selected Artwork Series

Selected artworks

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Selected dates:

November 22, 1890

Born in the family of a craftsman-entrepreneur, assigned to the Dolginovsky philistines. After the family moved to Vitebsk, where his father opened a china shop, he attended the private Drawing School of Yudel Pan.

1909

He graduated from the Alexander Real School in Smolensk. He studied at the Faculty of Architecture of the Higher Polytechnic School in Darmstadt, while studying he worked as a bricklayer.

1916-1917

He worked as an assistant in the architectural bureau of Velikovsky, then with Roman Klein. Since 1916, he participated in the work of the Jewish Society for the Encouragement of Arts. Then, in 1917, he began illustrating books published in Yiddish, including contemporary Jewish authors and works for children. Using traditional Jewish folk symbols, he created a brand for the Kyiv publishing house "Yidisher Folks-Farlag" (Jewish People's Publishing House).

1918

Graduated from the Institute with the title of engineer-architect. He became one of the founders of the Kultur-League (Yiddish: League of Culture), an avant-garde artistic and literary association that aimed to create a new Jewish national art.

1919

At the invitation of Marc Chagall, he moved to Vitebsk, where he taught at the People's Art School.

1919-1921

Becomes one of the active figures of the Vitebsk UNOVIS headed by Kazimir Malevich. Here Lissitzky creates his PROUNs - axonometric images of geometric bodies of various shapes in balance, either resting on a solid foundation, or, as it were, floating in outer space. Lissitzky is the teacher of Lazar Khidekel, who, after Lissitzky left Vitebsk, headed the UNOVIS architectural studio, in which a historical transition from two-dimensional Suprematism to three-dimensional Suprematism took place, that is, the foundations of new architecture and design of the 20th century were formulated.

1921-1925

Lived in Germany and Switzerland. Joined the Dutch group "Style".

1927

Lissitzky created the "Cabinet of Abstractions" for the museum in Hannover. At the same time, he introduced the term "Photography".

1930-1932

According to the project of El Lissitzky, a printing house for the Ogonyok magazine was built. Lissitzky's printing house is distinguished by an amazing combination of huge square and small round windows. The building in plan is similar to the sketch of Lissitzky's "horizontal skyscraper".

1941

Lissitzky died of tuberculosis. His last work was the poster "Let's have more tanks."

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  • abstractionism
  • city / urbanism
  • constructivism
  • design
  • graphic techniques / drawing
  • historical vanguard
  • poster
  • scenic practices & techniques
  • suprematism
  • vitebsk
  • vitebsk school / unovis