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Title De Stijl and Russian Art: Alexandre Archipenko, El Lissitzky, Theo van Doesburg; Cubism, Proun, Elementarism.
Author email
About author Allan Doig — FSA, Ph. D., Fellow, Tutor for Graduates. Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6QA, Great Britain.
In the section World Art of the 20th Century and Contemporary Art DOI10.18688/aa166-8-65
Year 2016 Volume 6 Pages 606613
Type of article RAR Index UDK 7.038.11, 7.038.14, 7.038, 7.037.2 Index BBK 85.103(2), 85.103(3)

From 1918, the Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg, editor of the avant-garde artistic journal De Stijl had been in touch with the Russian sculptor Alexandre Archipenko, who at the time was living in Paris. Archipenko had a considerable impact on Van Doesburg and other artists within the orbit of the magazine. In 1920, Van Doesburg published El Lissitzky’s Constructivist fairy-tale “Suprematist Development of Two Squares, in Six Constructions” in De Stijl. Van Doesburg excitedly wrote to a friend “that architects must surround themselves much more with these kinds of works ... and through them to begin to sense the endless spatial possibilities at the same time as coming to realise these possibilities in practice”. Lissitzky had a liberating influence on Van Doesburg’s development of Elementarism, and the Dutchman desperately wanted to travel to Russia. He clearly felt an affinity with the Russian’s work and ideas, which was confirmed when they met personally in Berlin in April 1922. The next month, Van Doesburg, Lissitzky and Hans Richter formed an alliance as the ‘International Faction of Constructivists’ at the ‘International Conference of Progressive Artists’ in Dusseldorf, and in June Van Doesburg published Lissitzky’s article ‘Proun’ (dated Moscow 1920) in De Stijl.

The Dutch radical artist was strongly influenced both in formal terms by the ‘Cubism’ of Archipenko and theoretically by the Constructivism of Lissitzky. Over the next year this was very fruitful in terms of Van Doesburg’s increasingly architectural oeuvre. Yet very soon differences between them resulted in mutual criticism, some of it became very public by 1926. As Proun and Elementarism developed, fault-lines appeared, and those years from 1920 to 1926 were pivotal so it is essential to explore the works and the writings of both the Russians and the Dutchman to understand precisely what was at stake in the theory and practice that first drew them into such a strong alliance, and then quite as strongly pushed them apart. The result of this study will clarify our vision of these astonishing works produced in the crucible of artistic revolution.

Reference Allan Doig. De Stijl and Russian Art: Alexandre Archipenko, El Lissitzky, Theo van Doesburg; Cubism, Proun, Elementarism.. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 6. Eds: Anna V. Zakharova, Svetlana V. Maltseva, Ekaterina Yu. Stanyukovich-Denisova. St. Petersburg, NP-Print Publ., 2016, pp. 606–613. ISSN 2312-2129.
Publication Article language english
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