PRINT November 1969

El Lissitzky’s “Prouns”, Part II


LISSITZKY’S WORK ON THE Proun paintings extended from 1919 until early 1924. In several of the earlier paintings the tie to Malevich’s Suprematist works is very strong. For example, one Proun recalls Malevich by its pure colors and the rectangular forms that simultaneously operate in two- and three-dimensions, though now joined by a curving, graceful line. Proun 1 A, The Bridge, incorporates Malevich’s use of an increasingly nebulous or dissipating form to suggest movement into space, while the link of this Proun to the engineering sensibility of the Constructivists is emphasized by the title, the formal configuration, and the vector in the upper left indicating the direction in which the traversing structure will pivot. The economy and flat forms of Proun 88 occur as well in many Suprematist compositions, though the diagonal lines in Proun 88 may be interpreted as receding into depth.

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