El Lissitzky

Eliezer " El " Lissitzky (Russian Эль Лисицкий, scientific transliteration el ' Lisickij; ? Actually listen Лазарь Маркович Лисицкий / Lasar Markowitsch Lissizki / i;. * 10 Novemberjul / November 22 1890greg in Pochinok, Russia, . † December 30 1941 in Moscow ) was a Russian avant-garde and has contributed through a variety of activities in the fields of painting, architecture, graphic design, typography and photography, both theoretically and practically significant for the realization and dissemination of constructivist ideas.

Life and work

After childhood and youth in Smolensk to El Lissitzky competed in 1909 at the School of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, but was rejected there as a Jew. Like many other Russians in his situation, he then went to Germany to study 1909-1914 Architecture and Engineering at the Technical University of Darmstadt; he graduated with a diploma in 1915.

In the October Revolution of 1917 Lissitzky saw an artistic and social new beginning for mankind. The themes of his work are strongly influenced by his politics. In 1918 he became a member of the Department of Fine Arts (ISO, Russian Изобразительный Отдел ) of the culture department Narkompros in Moscow.

El Lissitzky held various teaching activities of, ( recruited by the then director Marc Chagall, also taught at the University of Kazimir Malevich ), among others, in 1919 at the art school in Vitebsk Belarus. 1920-1921 he was Head of the Department of Architecture Vkhutemas in Moscow.

The First Russian Art Exhibition in Berlin in 1922, for their organization and design Lissitzky provided active employees and its catalog coined his title page, showed his paintings city, Proun Proun 2c and 19d as well as book illustrations and other works.

He coined his style with the design of its time. He was co-founder of constructivism and strongly influenced by the Suprematism. Geometric elements were transformed into an understandable for anyone political symbolism. During this period his experimental designs with the name of Proun, an acronym for " Project for the claim of the New ," which can be understood as a continuation of Suprematism in the third dimension. With its rejection of him creatively limiting Gutenberg 's typesetting El Lissitzky saw early ahead the turn of the photo set. His Proun paintings are visual compositions of geometric figures, providing a spatial effect on the two-dimensional surface. As a trained architect El Lissitzky saw his work as an interaction between architecture and painting. His work then influenced the De Stijl movement and the Bauhaus.

In 1923, he contracted tuberculosis, which he sought treatment in a sanatorium in Locarno. In Berlin he was with Ehrenburg the trilingual art magazine VESC - Objet - Item out. Along with Kurt Schwitters, he worked on the magazine Merz. After a long stay in Germany and Switzerland (1921-1925), he returned back to the Soviet Union in 1925 and taught until 1930 at the Moscow Art School Vkhutemas in the department of steel and metals.

He used artists acquaintances with Hans Arp ( joint work on the Scriptures The Kunstismen, published 1925), Kazimir Malevich, Jan Tschichold and Willi Baumeister. 1927-1928 he was commissioned to design the Abstract Cabinet in Lower Saxony Hanover Gallery. In 1928 he was artistic director in shaping the Soviet Pavilion at the International Press Exhibition in Cologne Pressa.

In Hanover, he had 1922, the art historian Sophie Küppers met, the couple married in 1927 and lived in Moscow. In the 1930s he was a member of the artists Abstraction-Création group in Paris. Since 1931 he was a senior artist - architect of the permanent building exhibition in the Cultural Park Gorky in Moscow and from 1932 a permanent employee as book artists for the magazine USSR in Construction.

From 1909, the year of study commencement in Darmstadt, and until his death on December 30, 1941 ( from tuberculosis ), El Lissitzky and forth between Germany and Russia, which is why a part of his work rather with Western, especially German and Dutch avant-garde is connected, but another part - and this applies esp. for the theory - the eastern, Russian avant-garde is closer.


Lissitzky worked on a variety of different methods and ideas; This had a great impact on contemporary art, mainly in the fields of graphic design, exhibition design and architecture. Some of his works have been exhibited posthumously at the documenta III in Kassel in 1964.

In Schwalbach am Taunus designed in 2005 the Darmstadt artists Gerhard Schweizer El - Lissitzky -Allee 3 times 5 concrete pillars. In passing, the text opens up to the 3.60 to 5.10 m high columns gradually.

In October 2013 it was announced that the private estate El Lissitzky and his wife Sophie Lissitzky - Küppers by the son of Jen Lissitzky is left to the Sprengel Museum Hannover.

Works (selection)


  • Proun. 1st Kestner Portfolio
  • Solution to the opera Victory over the Sun

Both came at the invitation and with the support of the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hannover.

Graphic work

  • Layout of the title image of the American cultural magazine Broom
  • Advertising campaigns for the Pelikan AG Hannover
  • Employees at the Merz magazine of Kurt Schwitters (No. 8 /9, 1924)
  • Body Kvitko: Vaysrussische folksmayses, drawings L. Lissitzky, Kniga, Berlin 1923
  • Body Kvitko: Ukraynishe folksmayses, drawings L. Lissitzky, Kniga, Berlin 1922


  • The Kunstismen, ( with Hans Arp ) Zurich 1925
  • SSSR 's architecture in The Art Journal, Volume 1925, Issue 2, pp. 49 - 53

Architecture, Designs


Kestner Portfolio Proun, Rob. Levnis and Chapman GmbH Hannover # 5, 1923

Anxious Litho, 1923

Proun, 1924 M. T. Abraham Center for the Visual Arts