International Chamber of Russian Modernism
An introduction to Styles.
Pages on each style will be added in the future, when they will be underlined.
The painting of light in the world using the order of the prismatic spectrum. Red, orange, yellow capture things in light; green, blue, violet capture things in shadow. The techniques of applying paint are meant to capture the fleeting, changing, evanescent qualities of light, whether as dots, dashes, or splashes.
1890s – 1910s. (PR)
Nikolai Kasatkin
Nude, 1898
State Russian Museum
St. Petersburg
Autumn Leaves
Mikhail Yakovlev
Autumn Leaves, 1909
State Russian Museum
St. Petersburg
The painting of Paul Cézanne was well known in Russia from the collections of Ivan Morosov and Sergei Shchukin as of 1909. Russian artists also studied in Paris, Alexander Kuprin and Piotr Konchalovsky being there during 1912 or 1913. The emphasis on forms sitting tightly in space followed Cézanne's advice to see the world in terms of the solid geometrical structures of which everything is made – cubes, cylinders, cones. Robert Falk used Cézanne's structures and careful brushwork but he painted in the bright colour relationships of the Fauves. 1912–1918. (PR)
Self Portrait
Piotr Konchalovsky
Self Portrait, 1912
Signed and dated lower right 1912
Crimea Lombardy Poplar
Robert Falk
Crimea Lombardy Poplar, 1915
State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

Olive Trees
Alexander Kuprin
Olive Trees, Menton, 1914
Signed and dated lower left: 1914
State Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow
"Our Moscovite Matisse, Mashkov, was not bad at all, seriously. His fruits are painted with great verve and resonance", the painter Valentin Serov wrote to the Moscow collector, Ivan Morozov, after seeing Ilya Mashkov's, "Blue Plums" in the Salon d'Automne in Paris in 1910. Moscow painters knew the work of Henri Matisse from the collections of Morosov and especially that of Sergei Shchukin as of 1909, and they showed their works in the Knave of Diamonds exhibitions from 1910. Other Russian Fauves included Piotr Konchalovsky, Alexander Kuprin and Aristarkh Lentulov, as well as the Munich-based, Alexei von Jawlensky. Fauvism is characterised by juxtapositions of bright, pure colours in a space that is often tipped or flat, compressing it. c. 1909 – 1915. (PR)
Aristarkh Lentulov
Aristarkh Lentulov
Self Portrait, 1909
State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

Still Life with Fruit on a Plate
Ilya Mashkov
Still Life with Fruit on a Plate
("Blue Plums"), 1910
State Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow
Expressionism uses all the means of the painter's art – lines, brushwork, colours, textures, shapes – to convey and express observations and sensations about the world. Vasily Kandinsky was the master Expressionist, from his figurative paintings of the village of Murnau (1900–1910) to his non-figurative or abstract paintings from 1911 into the early 1920s. (PR)
Improvisation 4
Vasily Kandinsky
Improvisation 4, 1909
State Art Museum,
Improvisation Deluge
Vasily Kandinsky
Improvisation Deluge, 1913
Städtische Galerie im Lembachhaus,
Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Ivan Larionov, Ilya Zdanevich among a few others championed a modern Russian painting drawn from the folk art of Russia. They painted peasant scenes and craftsmen, laundresses and fishmongers, soldiers and lowlife. Their styles were adopted from painted metal trays, wooden spoons and bowls, toys, shop signs (piles of bread for bakeries, for example), icons, and folk prints. They painted in flat planes using very bright and festive colours, sometimes with decorative elements. 1906 – 1912.
Peasant Women
Natalia Goncharova,
Peasant Women / "Babi", 1910
K. B. & N. N. Okunev,
Leningrad State Russian Museum, 1979
Soldier Riding a Horse
Mikhail Larionov, Soldier Riding a Horse
(A Galloping Hussar)
, 1910-11
Tate Gallery,
The Parisian Cubist painters – Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Jean Metzinger, Henri Le Fauconnier, Albert Gleizes, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris – wanted to depict an object from its many points of view. So they represented a face both in profile and frontally, for example. This also meant that space was no longer determined by one-point perspective but could be seen from many perspectives. The key idea in Cubism is, "from different points of view". To depict an object from different points means that the painter may walk around a model or a still life in order to capture its different aspects, including from above or from below, even from inside an object such as a jug. Structurally Parisian Cubism began by building with the cube and its aspects – the square, the triangle, the rectangle – to become increasingly flatter and abstract.
The Russian Cubists – David Burliuk, Alexandra Exter, Liubov Popova, Nadezhda Udaltsova, Kazimir Malevich, Ivan Kliun, Mikhail Le Dantiu and others – adopted these very same principles for their Cubist paintings and exploited them in a variety of ways. The same process of moving from very cubic to very flat compositions also characterises Russian Cubism, 1911 to 1917. (PR)
Landscape from 4 Points of View,
David Burliuk
Landscape from 4 Points of View, 1911
State Tretiakov Gallery,
Figure + House + Space
Liubov Popova
Figure + House + Space, 1914
State Russian Museum
St. Petersburg

Footman with a Samovar
Kazimir Malevich
Footman with a Samovar, 1913
Private Collection, Moscow
The Italian Futurists – Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Carlo Carrà, Gino Severini, and others – were fascinated by the movement that characterised modern technology. They depicted trains in motion, machines in motion, airplanes in flight, and so on, as well as cylists on their bicycles or a man running. What they were painting was the way the eye sees motion – that is, the apparent repetition of an element or group of elements that are moving.
Russian Futurism is a more complex trend in which time – past, present and future – are integrated through experiments with the word and the image, the latter characterising ALOGISM. Artists such as Natalia Goncharova, Nadezhda Udaltsova and Ivan Kliun depicted what things look like in movement in the Italian manner, as did Malevich in his depiction of a man sharpening a knife. 1912-1916. (PR)
Natalia Goncharova
Cyclist, 1913
State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
Nadezhda Udaltsova
Seamstress, 1912
State Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow
The Russian avant-garde artists combined Cubism – the juxtaposition of aspects of an object seen from different points of view – with Futurism – depicting an object in the repetitive facets of its movement. Ivan Kliun depicted a fan whirling, Olga Rozanova and Natalia Goncharova depicted airplanes flying. Nadezhda Udaltsova captured the animated atmosphere of a restaurant with all its clatter and bustle. Kliun's landscape seen from a speeding train is similar in structure to Giacomo Balla's series of speeding cars, these works becoming almost abstract in their depiction of pure dynamism. Fundamental to Russian Cubo-Futurism is the structure of the painting. From a given place, it radiates or integrates repeat patterns in order to capture the essence of truly dynamic movement in space. 1912–c.1916. (PR)
Landscape Rushing By
Ivan Kliun
Landscape Rushing By, 1914
Regional Art Museum, Kirov
Nadezhda Udaltsova
Restaurant, 1915
Russian Museum St. Petersburg
Mikhail Larionov took the word "rayism", "luchizm" in Russian, to describe his paintings in which the depiction of rays of light refracting and reflecting off objects are captured in radiant lines of colours. Natalia Goncharova was soon a Rayist painter and their works were first exhibited in late 1912.
There were two phases of Rayism. In "Realistic Rayism", of 1912-1913, "the object serves as a point of departure", as Larionov wrote, for the colours of shafts of lights that reflect and refract between the objects. In "Pneumorayism", or "concentrated" Rayism, of mid-1913-1914, shafts of coloured light dominate and the object disappears underneath them.
Rayist Lilies
Natalia Goncharova
Rayist Lilies, 1913
Regional Art Museum, Perm

Sunny Day
Mikhail Larionov
Sunny Day, 1913-1914 (Pneumo-Rayist Structure Based on Colour: Composition)
Musée national d'art moderne
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
"Suprematism is the art of colour", wrote Kazimir Malevich. These are the colours of light in space as seen by the eye. Hence, they are arranged according to the laws of the prismatic spectrum, as in Impressionism. Red, orange, yellow are found at the light end of the spectrum and in light. Green, blue and violet are found at the dark end of the spectrum and in shadow. As colours appear between light and dark, these two phenomena are represented by white and black in Suprematist paintings. The ground of Malevich's Suprematist paintings is white because it is a field of light. His students such as Ilya Chasnik and Nikolai Suetin often began with a field of darkness – a black ground – out of which coloured forms appeared. Of Malevich's fellow-Suprematists there were Ivan Kliun, Olga Rozanova, Mikhail Menkov, and Ivan Puni with whom he first showed Suprematist paintings in 1915 at the Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings 0.10, Petrograd. Most of the Non-Objective painters also went through a Suprematist phase in their work. Around 1918, Malevich began to reinterpret Suprematism, seeing its stages as vehicles of states of consciousness. He described this as 5 "phases": the Static Sensation, the Dynamic Sensation, the Magnetic Sensation, the Sensation of Non-Existence, and the Sensation of Absolute Non-Objectivity. 1915 to mid-1920s. (PR)
Dynamic Suprematism
Kazimir Malevich
Dynamic Suprematism, 1916
Ludwig Museum, Cologne
Olga Rozanova
Suprematism, 1916
State Russian Museum St. Petersburg

Ivan Kliun
, 1915
State Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow
Non-objective – bezpredmet' in Russian – literally means, "without an object". The object in painting was now replaced with colour in painting. The term has both a general and a specific reference. Generally, all the artists who were painting with colour as their main concern were using the term, "non-objective", including the Suprematists. Specifically, the term was adopted by a group of painters in 1918 in order to distinguish themselves from Suprematism.
The Non-Objectivists included Alexandra Exter, Aleksandr Rodchenko,
Liubov Popova, Alexander Vesnin, and others. Continuing to paint with the laws of the prismatic spectrum of colour, they were concerned above all with the material nature of colour, its textures and qualities.
1915 to mid-1920s. (PR)
Colour Construction
Alexandra Exter
Colour Construction, 1921
Radislev State Museum of Art, Saratov
Composition No. 68
Aleksandr Rodchenko
Composition No. 68 (Still Life), 1918
Regional Art Museum, Perm
  Painterly Architectonics
Liubov Popova
Painterly Architectonics, 1918
George Costakis Collection
Three-dimensional work. Constructivism was launched in May 1921 with the sculptures shown at the OBMOKhU exhibition in Moscow, its principles to then be applied to theatre, architecture, and design work (graphics, textiles, porcelain, etc.) throughout the early 1920s. The Constructivists included Naum Gabo, Anton Pevsner, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Georgii and Vladimir Stenberg, Konstantin Medunetzky, Karl Ioganson, Gustav Klutsis, Liubov Popova, Varvara Stepanova, Alexander Vesnin, et al.
Vladimir Tatlin is also considered a Constructivist. 1921-mid-1920s. (PR)
OBMOKhU Exhibition
OBMOKhU Exhibition, Moscow, May 1921
Visible are works by K. Ioganson, V. & G. Stenberg, A. Rodchenko.
he Man Who Was Thursday
A. Vesnin, Set for The Man Who Was Thursday, 1923 K. Ioganson, V. & G. Stenberg, A. Rodchenko.
Liubov Popova described Objectivism as the "elaboration of artists' activity which at the present moment is focused on creating new objects for the world". Objectivism was linked to Productivism.
Early-mid 1920s. (PR)
AP - Anthony Parton
PR - Patricia Railing


Red Square


Published by: InCoRM Association loi de 1901 © InCoRM 2010
This site is protected. Pages and illustrations may not be downloaded without the permission of InCoRM.

All the information contained on our internet pages is presented as a service of InCoRM. While we take great care in the procurement and preparation of this information, we cannot be held liable for the accuracy, completeness or currency of the contents supplied by our information services. The material acquired and transmitted is solely for the information of visitors to our online services and is not intended as advice or recommendation of any sort. Reproductions of works of art are for educational and research purposes only, and are protected by normal copyright convention for the internet.