El Lissitzky, Proun, a lithograph

Russia, AD 1919-21

New art for a new society

'Proun' is an abbreviation for the Russian 'Project for the affirmation of the new'. The Russian artist El Lissitzky (1890-1941) coined this word in 1919 to describe his personal project to represent 'the interchange station between painting and architecture'. His visual language was designed for the new society of the Russian Revolution (1917) which he supported enthusiastically. Under the initial influence of his fellow revolutionary Kasimir Malevich's Suprematism, Lissitzky developed an approach to geometrical forms that he saw as fundamentally practical and specifically Communist (e.g. Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge 1919-20).

Lissitzky published his first set of 'Proun' lithographs in Moscow in 1921. Although this lithograph (unnumbered) was not included, it is very closely related in style. The geometrical elements suggest three-dimensional objects and textures beyond Malevich's wholly flattened compositions, and Lissitzky's practical concerns link him with Constructivism rather than the 'pure' intentions of Suprematism.

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El Lissitzky, Proun, a lithograph

© 2001 DACS


More information


S. Lissitzky-Küppers, El Lissitzky: life, letters, t (London, Thames and Hudson, 1968)

F. Carey and A. Griffiths, The print in Germany 1880-1933, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)


Height: 310.000 mm
Width: 239.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1982-7-24-13



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