Russian avant-garde

The term Russian avant-garde artistic era in Russia is called, which took place between about 1905 and 1934. Here, the integration of visual arts, literature, music and theater in stage design, figurines and poster designs came to bear.


The Russian avant-garde was a process of transformation and renewal in all areas of Russian art. On the one hand it was based on the latest developments in French art, while on the other hand, identified with their strongest links to pictorial folk tradition. All artists of this era united the efforts to create a synthesis of folk elements, modern trends and the contemporary tendency of abstraction to meet. With the latter, an attempt was made to build on the technical achievements of that time. Between Western influences and Eastern traditions originated as an art of great sovereignty. A number of art movements such as Neo-Primitivism, Cubo-Futurism, Rayonism, constructivism, but also analytical art, projectionism and cosmism shaped this development.

One of the highlights of this era is the exhibition " Jack of Diamonds " from December 1910 to January 1911 and defines the same group of artists in October 1911 formally founded by the participating artists " Jack of Diamonds ". The exhibition came about through the artists Aristarchus Lentulov, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich and Natalia Goncharova. In 1912 the exhibition " Donkey's Tail ".

From the Bolshevik cultural policy, this development was originally funded. Suprematism, Malevich developed, was for a short time after the October Revolution of 1917, even a kind of mass agitation means. Malevich and El Lissitzky were appointed to chairs of the Moscow Art School. The Russian avant -garde understood the new Communist rule there as a sponsor and pioneer of avant-garde art.

On April 3, 1921 in Petrograd, the Museum of Artistic Culture opened its doors and was represented by 257 works by 69 artists to the public. His most important organizational feature was that only the avant-garde artists should themselves have the museum. In their opinion, a work plan for the revolutionary new version of the history of art should be created. All leaders of the Petrograd avant-garde were involved in this experiment: Kandinsky, Tatlin, Malevich, Filonov, Matjuschin, to theorists with the art historian and writer Nikolai Nikolayevich Punin at the top. In 1924 the museum was built by violent internal conflicts in the Institute of Artistic Culture ( INKhUK ), itself a year later, the status of a "state" institution gained ( GINKhUK ).

The influence of the Russian avant-garde to the recent development of Western art is now regarded as indisputable. Without The Black Square on White (1915 ) by Kasimir Malevich, his later Suprematist Composition: White on white, or the series of Black Paintings (1917 /18) Rodchenko and his primary colored triptych ( 1921) the evolution of the abstract art of Yves Klein would be about, Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt inconceivable; so also, for example, Works of American Minimal Art by Donald Judd and Carl Andre, which can be traced back to materiality and functionality previously Tatlin and Rodchenko sculptures.

After Stalin took power, the theoretical approach of the avant -garde with the political demands for a functional art did not agree. Malevich was an exhibition and publication ban. The composers were able to escape further persecution by collecting folk music in the ethnic groups of the Soviet Union. Other artists migrated to the West. This was followed by a centrally controlled agitation art that is also known as Socialist Realism.

Fine Arts

In addition to many other artists were Chagall, Kandinsky, Rodchenko, Malevich and the best known representative. While Kandinsky sought the spiritual in abstract art and wanted to bring in his paintings to express Malevich was rather face with his geometric forms Suprematism. Both united the efforts to bring the unity of the world in the harmony of soul and cosmos. The ideas of Theosophy and influenced by Rudolf Steiner in particular the work of Kandinsky.

The Russian avant-garde art was outlawed in the era of Stalinism, even artists distanced themselves from their earlier works. George Costakis began in 1946 specifically to explore this era of Russian art and collect. Numerous works were saved from utter loss, a part of his collection is now in the State Tretyakov Gallery. Costakis made ​​the Russian avant-garde in the West known again.