El Lissitzky

El Lissitzky - Wikipedia

El Lissitzky’s full name is Eleazar Markovich Lisitskii, where he was born on November 1890 in the Russian town of Pochinok, which was considered a Jewish-populated community. He traveled a bit when he was younger moving from Pochinok to Vitebsk to spend his childhood years and then to Smolensk where he would start attending secondary school. Vitebsk is a city that played a huge role in Russian avant-garde. The Jewish artist Yehuda Pen decided to take Lissitzky under his wing and taught him everything he knew. Another fun fact is that Marc Chagall also grew up in Vitebsk as well as was taught by Yehuda Pen (Wolf, n.d.). He visited many countries such as Germany to study architecture from 1909 to 1914, then throughout these years he also visited France, Italy and Belgium. However, when World War I broke out his studies brought him back to Russia where he would study at the Polytechnical Institute from 1915 to 1916. In the beginning of his career his artistic interests were mainly surrounded by different Jewish themes and Jewish culture. He had then been invited to begin teaching at the People’s Art School in Vitebsk, where he would teach architecture and graphics. This point in his life caused a shift in Lissitzky’s art. This is when he had changed his name to El Lissitzky and his art style began to change a bit. Around 1919 he had began to work on a project, which contained different abstract geometric paintings and each piece was called a “project for the affirmation of the new” (Sarabianov, n.d.). El Lissitzky had then transitioned to a professor at a state art school in Moscow, but shortly left in December to meet German artists. During his time abroad he tapped into a new source of creativity. He had helped out in a producing an art magazine, published numerous books, as well became a member in the group De Stijl. After these years he started adding photography to his collection of tools. He then came back to Russia once again in 1925 and helped make a propaganda magazine called USSR in Construction with the help of other avant-garde artists like Aleksandr Rodchenko. He died on December 30, 1941 in Moscow from tuberculosis. (Sarabianov, n.d.)


El Lissitzky is a russian avant-garde artist, which is when works are experimental, radical or unorthodox with respect to art, culture or culture. He was considered a Russian painter, typographer and designer as well (Clyde, n.d.). Throughout his career he had many important pieces such as Had Gadya made in 1919, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge made in 1919, and Proun 99 made in 1925. Lissitzky had a great influence in graphic design and there is no doubt about that. He used simple features however it had a big impact. For example, he utilized primary colors, black and white, text and basic shapes, but with these simple features he was able to make an impact with his statements and stories. Throughout his career he had various accomplishments such as producing magazines, books, propaganda posters, teaching architecture and more as mentioned before. El Lissitzky will always be remembered as one of the best avant-garde artists that impacted the graphic design world (Wolf, n.d.)


Wolf, Justin. (n.d.). El Lissitzky. The Art Story. Retrieved April 16, 2021, from https://www.theartstory.org/artist/lissitzky-el/

Sarabianov, A.D. (n.d.). El Lissitzky. Britannica. Retrieved April 16, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/El-Lissitzky

Clyde, J. (n.d.). El Lissitzky. Widewalls. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.widewalls.ch/artists/el-lissitzky