The Museum of Avant-garde

El Lissitzky (Lazar Markovich Lissitzky)

Russia (1890—1941)
Prodigiously talent already at the age of 13, Lissitzsky was refused at the Art Academy in Saint Petersburg for the Jewish quota allowed in Russia. He took up Architectural Engineering in Germany, while travelling around Europe and absorbing Jugendstil and Chagall Symbolism. At the onset of WWI he was called back in Russia, where he met Chagall and Kandinsky. He started to look at Jewish art, editorial design and photomontage. Chagall asked him to teach architecture and design at his Art Academy. Here Lissitzsky met Maljevič, who already founded Suprematism. Together they founded a new artistic group – Unovis. In this period Lissitzsky defined his own style with series of artworks called Proun. He also tried to bring Suprematism into architecture. He returned to Germany working as a graphic designer, he turned to Constructivism, who was just blossoming internationally. He developed his ‘horizontal skyscrapers’. He returned to Russia in 1928 and kept working in architecture as well as in graphic design for the Russian propaganda until his death in 1941.