El Lissitzky: Design
El (Eleazer) Lissitzky (1890-1941) was a vital force in the revolutionary period in Russia. Having first trained in engineering and architecture and later becoming a painter and illustrator, his creative activity ranged across disciplines. This he called 'the interchange station between painting and architecture', and it made him enormously influential - as a painter, graphic designer, teacher, propagandist, exhibition designer, and also as an architectural theorist. Lissitzky had studied in Germany before the Russian Revolution, and after it he became a vital link between Soviet culture and Western art groups, traveling officially to present Soviet culture in the West, but at the same time contacting many leading figures in Western art, including the De Stilj group in Holland , Dadaists in Switzerland and Germany, and artists and designers at the Bauhaus, as well as architects with international aims.
He was a tireless creative force, and a determined traveller who brought many collaborative projects to a fruitful conclusion that involved connections across the political East-West division of Europe. Yet this determined and dynamic man suffered grievously from tuberculosis. From the sanatorium he still sent witty letters and drawings to his wife Sophie Lissitzky-Kuppers in Russia. In his last year he turned his abilities to designing Soviet trade fairs and, briefly, to propagandist war.
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