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Lissitzky, Eleazar Markevich

Lissitzky, Eleazar Markevich ( Lazar' called El) (1890–1941). Russian architect, graphic designer, painter, and polemicist, he was an early devotee of Suprematism before becoming a protagonist of Constructivism. He studied at Darmstadt from 1909, travelled, and graduated in architecture at Riga in 1915, after which (1919) he worked with Marc Chagall (1887–1985) at the Vitebsk School of Art, where he evolved the idea of a work of art as an ‘interchange station’ between painting and architecture. This he termed Proun (an acronym for the Russian meaning ‘Project for the Affirmation of the New’), and his paintings of the time have a resemblance to plans for three-dimensional structures. Influenced to some extent by the painter Kasimir Malevich (1878–1935) and Tatlin, Lissitzky helped to organize Malevich's New System of Art (1919), the manifesto of Suprematism, and later designed the Lenin Tribune project (1920), which was a precedent for Vesnin's Pravda (Truth) Building in Leningrad (1923). Through his Western contacts van Doesburg, Stam, and others, his ideas were disseminated within the De Stijl group and at the Bauhaus. He designed several rooms for exhibitions, including the Proun Room for the Greater Berlin Art Exhibition (1923—reconstructed at the Stedelijk Museum, Eindhoven, Netherlands) and the Exhibition Cabinet (room) for the International Art Exhibition, Dresden (1926), and Hanover (1928—recreated at the Landesmuseum, Hanover). His images and, especially, his graphics, have been widely influential, especially in the late C20, and the fragmentation apparent in his work has informed Deconstructivism, notably the designs of Libeskind and others.


Architects' Year Book, xii (1968), 253–68;
Debbaut et al. (eds.) (1990–1);
Jervis (1984);
Lissitzky (1970, 1981);
Ly-Küppers (1980);
Margolin (1997);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Richter (1958)

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