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Proun

El Lissitzky began his association with the Russian avant-garde in 1919, after many of his contemporaries. However, he became a key figure for transmitting their progressive ideas to artists in Europe. His groundbreaking Proun series, which combined modern ideas of architectural design with those of abstract painting, was especially influential. These geometric-abstract compositions, created between 1919 and 1927, were produced in a variety of media, including drawings, paintings, and prints. The title of the series, derived from an acronym of the Russian words meaning roughly “project for the affirmation of the new,” reflects an optimistic view of modern technology and the future, inspired by hopes of the Russian Revolution. Many of his constructivist shapes suggest a futurist city seen from an aerial perspective.

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection also includes two prints from this series: Proun I (Eskenazi Museum of Art 79.69) and Proun (Kestner Portfolio) (Eskenazi Museum of Art 77.55.1).

El Lissitzky
Russian, 1890–1941
Proun
ca. 1920
Gouache and watercolor over graphite on paper
Image/sheet: 15 1/8 x 15 ½ in. (30.8 x 31.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Jane and Roger Wolcott Memorial, Gift of Thomas T. Solley, 75.92