The Museum of Avant-garde

Michael Larionov

Russia (1881—1964)
Born near Odessa, still very young he moved to Moscow to study art. After initial Impressionist influences, he soon turned to Symbolism, Post-Impressionism and Fauvism. In 1910 he co-founded the Bubnovyi Valet (The Jack of Diamonds) and a year later the more radical Oslinyi Khvost (Donkey’s Tail), both groups representing Primitivism movement. Following Marinetti’s conference on Futurism, he started to explore a new movement – Rayonism – for which he wrote three manifestos: they represented the first attempt to a near-abstract art in Russia and set the scene for the future Constructivism. He gained international reputation and started to travel in Switzerland and France, where he also worked with Diaghilev on theatre sets and costumes for the Ballets Russes. In Paris he collaborated with Cubist and Dada artists and over the years he continued to work as painter and graphic designer: he contributed to the first Bauhaus portfolio and authored illustrations for Mayakovsky’s The Sun (1923). In his last period he abandoned painting to focus only on ballet design.