Constructivism (art)

Constructivism is a strictly non-objective style of modern painting in the first half of the 20th century. It builds on the Suprematism of the Ukrainian painter Kasimir Malevich.

Conceptually meant the style a rejection of the past, historically developed forms and imagery of the painting as the culture as a whole to start all over again, picturesque in the basic geometric shapes and uniform color space.

The direction was partly the character of a political movement, and was developed in the Soviet Union; the Dutch De Stijl is also mentioned in this context.

The term constructivism refers to the Latin word constructio " assembly ", " construction ".


It is characterized by a simple geometric shape vocabulary, Black as on the famous image Square on White by Kazimir Malevich. The new art direction, which dwelt also a social moment in the theoretical manifestations, also had influence on contemporary sculpture and architecture.

Although the attempt to create art objects using mathematics-based constructions, is not new ( cf. Golden Section ), the term constructivism is used generally only for modern art, mostly in connection with geometric abstractions and technoid forms of design. Constructivism is a form of expression of abstract art, parallel to Dadaism in the 1920s. The followers of constructivism represented a geometric- technical design principle with mostly large areas of color and geometric shapes.


The architecture was constructivism as it as the "mother of all arts ." The name Constructivism to have been first used in 1913 for abstract relief constructions Vladimir Tatlin, and in works of the Ukrainian painter Kasimir Malevich, who painted a black " perfect " square in the so-called programmatic zero on a white square, and vice versa; see Suprematism. The artists of constructivism described themselves as " sculptor " and rejected naturalistic " replicas " categorically.

Russian Constructivism has after the revolution of 1917 because of the revolutionary political situation often propagandistic trains. So they built in 1920 in Petrograd after the design Tatlin a 30 m high wooden object as a model for a planned but never realized 400 m high steel frame gazebo which a monument of III. Communist International should be. It was planned to construct the individual parts such as the moving spheres of a planetarium.

In a 1920 by Tatlin and the brothers Pevsner published with government support manifesto of constructive realism and the kinematics were highlighted as design principles. Since, as Lenin said that art is only exploited in this, if it is seen by the general public and accepted, but was shortly thereafter in the Soviet Union, the detachment of constructivism by Socialist Realism.


Aside from his Russian origin, including artists' associations such as De Stijl, Bauhaus and concrete art were influenced by Russian Constructivism. Built on the Soviet base flow is ' analytical constructivism ' called.

As Malevich painted, for example, Josef Albers, Lyonel Feininger and Thilo Maatsch according to strict geometric shapes. Later, Victor Vasarely, Max Bill, Richard Paul Lohse and Barnett Newman represented the constructive principle. Oskar Schlemmer was known for his figurative constructivism. The English group "Unit One" belonging to painter sympathized with constructivism, but preferred less bound forms.

Constructivism was one of the early currents of modern art, with which a large number of visual artists dealt. In Britain after the Second World War in London a new constructivist art movement, heavily influenced by Victor Pasmore and other artists founded. Many of these artists were from the St Martin's School of Art and had the focus of her work in the 1950s and 1960s.

Artist of constructivism

Arranged in chronological order of their birth years

  • André Evard (1876-1972), the Swiss painter
  • Kasimir Malevich (1879-1935), the Ukrainian painter
  • Vadim Meller (1884-1962), Russian- Ukrainian painter, illustrator, stage designer and architect
  • Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), Dutch painter
  • Vladimir Tatlin (1885-1953), Russian painter
  • Antoine Pevsner (1886-1962), Russian painter and sculptor
  • Liubov Popova (1889-1924), Russian painter
  • Willi Baumeister (1889-1955), German painter, printmaker and stage designer
  • Walter Dexel (1890-1973), German painter, graphic designer, designers and transport planners
  • El Lissitzky (1890-1941), Russian painter, graphic designer, architect, typographer and photographer
  • Konstantin Stepanovich Melnikov (1890-1974), a Russian architect
  • Naum Gabo (1890-1977), Russian painter, architect and designer
  • Alexander Mikhailovich Rodchenko (1891-1956), Russian painter, graphic artist, photographer and architect
  • Varvara Stepanova (1894-1958), Russian painter, stage designer and textile designer
  • Klutsis Gustav (1895-1938), Latvian photographer
  • László Moholy -Nagy (1895-1946), Hungarian painter, photographer and stage designer who emigrated to Germany and the USA
  • Rudolf Jahns (1896-1983), German painter
  • Thilo Maatsch (1900-1983), German painter, printmaker and sculptor
  • Vordemberge - Gildewart (1899-1962), German graphic artist, painter, sculptor and writer
  • Laszlo Peri (1899? -1967 ), British sculptor and painter of Hungarian descent
  • Wasiliy Yermilow (1894-1968), Russian- Ukrainian painter and designer
  • Robert Jacobsen (1912-1993), Danish sculptor iron
  • Rudolf Ortner (1912-1997), German architect, painter and photographer
  • Rolf Rappaz (1914-1996); Swiss graphic designer and visual artist
  • Gottfried Honegger ( * 1917 ); Swiss graphic designer and visual artist

New Constructivism in Britain after the Second World War:

  • Kenneth Martin (1894-1984), British painter and sculptor
  • Victor Pasmore (1908-1998), British painter and artist Relief
  • John Ernest (1922-1994), British painter and artist Relief
  • Anthony Hill ( born 1930 ), British painter and artist Relief

Other artists, later:

  • Günter Neusel (* 1930), German sculptor
  • Hans Dieter Zingraff (* 1947), German painter
  • Inge Thiess - Boettner (1924-2001), German painter and graphic artist

See also: Constructivism ( Architecture )

Important collections of Constructivism

  • Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Staatl. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
  • Collection George Costakis SMCA Museum, Thessaloniki
  • Collection El Lizzitsky, Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  • House Constructive, Zurich
  • Collection Wilhelm Hack, Wilhelm Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen
  • Ritter Museum, Forest book
  • Museum of Concrete Art, Ingolstadt
  • Kunsthalle messmer, Riegel am Kaiserstuhl
  • Museum Modern Art, Collection Jürgen Blum, Hünfeld, USA
  • Peter C. Ruppert Collection, Museum in the cultural memory of Würzburg