chapter
Abstract painting in Russia
WithAlfred H. Barr
Pages 10

Abstract art in Russia began long before the Revolution of 1917. The Suprematist-Non-Objectivist movement was by far the most important development in Russian abstract painting. Rayonism, the invention of Michael Larionov, was, with the Russian Wassily Kandinsky Abstract Expressionism in Munich, the most purely abstract movement in Europe during the years 1911–1912. As a pioneer, a theorist and an artist he influenced not only a large following in Russia but also, through El Lissitzky and Ladislaus Moholy-Nagy, the course of abstract art in Central Europe. Lissitzky, who spent much time in Germany between 1922 and 1926, is by far the best known of the Russian abstract painters in Western Europe. Russian Suprematism and Constructivism played an important role in Germany after 1922 principally through the work of Lissitzky, the Hungarian Moholy-Nagy and the Constructivist, Gabo. The cover of the Soviet architectural magazine by the former Constructivist, Alexei Gan, is also under Stijl influence.