The art of the Russian avant-garde

Artists in the young Soviet Union saw abstraction and collage as a means of changing both art and society.

1918 - 1941

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Constructivism, Part I
Constructivism, Part I

The Constructivists worked to establish a new social role for art and the artist in the communist society of 1920s Soviet Russia.

Constructivism, Part II
Constructivism, Part II

Constructivist Kiosks, rubber overshoes, textile designs and posters — all aligned with the ideology of communism and contributing to the creation of a new society.

Kasimir Malevich and Cubo-Futurism
Kasimir Malevich and Cubo-Futurism

The Russian avant-garde adapted European modernist techniques to depict specifically Russian subjects.

Russian Neo-Primitivism: Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov
Russian Neo-Primitivism: Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov

Early 20th century Russian modernism is filled with contradictions—it engages with some of the most radical trends of European modern art, but reflects on traditional Russian subjects and themes.

Suprematism, Part I: Kasimir Malevich
Suprematism, Part I: Kasimir Malevich

“I transformed myself in the zero of form . . . I destroyed the ring of the horizon and escaped from the circle of things, from the horizon-ring that confines the artist and the forms of nature.”

Suprematism, Part II: El Lissitzky
Suprematism, Part II: El Lissitzky

Malevich believed art would help to usher in a new spiritual era of immateriality.

Tatlin’s Tower
Tatlin’s Tower

Tatlin’s Tower symbolizes the utopian aspirations of the communist leaders of Russia’s 1917 October Revolution.

A new world after the Russian Revolution: Malevich’s <em>Suprematist Composition: White on White</em>
A new world after the Russian Revolution: Malevich’s Suprematist Composition: White on White

Malevich believed that artists, and art, could pave the way to a better future. But would they?

Varvara Stepanova, <em>The Results of the First Five-Year Plan</em>
Varvara Stepanova, The Results of the First Five-Year Plan

Stepanova lent her artistic talents to the cause of promoting the ideals of the Soviet Union.

Selected Contributors