Jean Pougny

Born: 1894, Kuokkala (Finland)
Died: 1956, Paris

Painter, graphic artist, sculptor, theatrical designer, illustrator, writer on art, teacher. Grandson of Italian composer Cesare Pugni (1802–1870), who emigrated to St Petersburg (1850). Born Ivan Puni in the family of Anglo-Italian cellist Alberto Linton-Pugni and Russian noblewoman Lydia Lomankine at the Finnish seaside resort of Kuokkala (now Repino) near St Petersburg (1894). Attended the Karl May Grammar School (1899–1900) and the Nicholas Military Academy in St Petersburg (1900–08). Took drawing lessons from Ilya Repin (1900s) and studied at the Académie Julian and Académie Colarossi in Paris (1910–12). Visited Italy (1912) and returned to St Petersburg (1912), where he settled at 56/1 Bolshoi Prospekt on the Petrograd Side and associated with such members of the avant-garde as Nikolai Kulbin, David Burliuk, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Velimir Khlebnikov and Kazimir Malevich (1912). Married Xenia Boguslavskaya (1913) and returned to Paris (1913–14), where he worked in a Cubo-Futurist style. Designed the cover of the Futurists: Roaring Parnassus almanac (1914). Financed the Tramway V First Futurist Exhibition (1915) and 0.10 Last Futurist Exhibition (1915–16). Painted Suprematist pictures and created Suprematist relief-sculptures (1915–16). Founding member of Supremus (1915–16) and Freedom to Art (1917). Illustrated Vladimir Mayakovsky’s October 191718: Heroes and Victims of the Revolution (1918) and decorated the streets of Petrograd on May Day and the first anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution (1918). Taught at the Petrograd State Free Art Studios (1918) and under Marc Chagall at the Vitebsk School of Art (1919). Emigrated to Finland by walking across the frozen sea from Russia to Kuokkala with Vasily Shukhayev and his wife Vera (1920). Interned by the Finnish authorities (1920), granted an exit visa to Danzig (1920) and settled in Berlin (1920–23), where he designed for the theatre and illustrated books. Member of the Novembergruppe (1922). Rejected Suprematism and criticised Russian non-objective art in La peinture contemporaine (1923). Moved to Paris (1923) and changed his name to Jean Pougny (1924). Passed through periods of interest in Constructivism and Dadaism (mid-1920s) and painted figurative still-lifes, interiors and cityscapes in a late Impressionist style (late 1920s–30s). Joined the Union of Russian Artists in France (1933). Moved to the French Riviera with Robert Delaunay and Sonia Terk to avoid the invading German army (1940). Lived in Antibes (1940–42). Granted French citizenship (1946) and awarded the Légion d’honneur (1947). Worked in a decorative and mosaic-like style (1948–56). Died in his studio at 86 Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs in Paris and buried at the Cimetière du Montparnasse (1956). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1912). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Union of Youth (1912–13, 1913–14), Salon des Indépendants (1913, 1914, from 1920s), Tramway V First Futurist Exhibition (1915), 0.10 Last Futurist Exhibition (1915–16), Fellowship of Independents (1916), Knave of Diamonds (1916–17), Russian Landscapes in Petrograd (1919), Novembergruppe in Berlin (1922) and Cologne (1922), Salon des Tuileries (1924–55), Salon d’Automne (from 1920s), Die erste russische Kunstausstellung in Berlin (1922), Exhibition of the Latest Tendencies in Art in Leningrad (1927), Four Arts (1928), Exhibition of Modern French Art at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow (1928), Tchisla in Paris (1931, 1932), Hommage à la Victoire at 4 Rue Galliera in Paris (1946), De Gauguin à nos jours in Warsaw and Krakow (1959), Les peintres russes de l’École de Paris at the Musée de Saint-Denis (1960), Picasso et ses amis: collection d’un amateur parisien at the Château des Rohan in Strasbourg (1960), French National Exhibition at the Sokolniki Exhibition Centre in Moscow (1961), La peinture franc?aise in Geneva (1962), group exhibitions of Russian artists in Paris (1925, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1936), Brussels (1928) and Prague (1935), international exhibitions in Düsseldorf (1922), Brussels (1928), Paris (1937, 1946), Vienna (1946), Cairo (1946), Pittsburgh (1950), Turin (1953), Tokyo (1953, 1955), Rome, Marseilles, Provence, Chartres and Mexico (1955–59), one-man shows in Berlin (1921, 1923), Paris (1925, 1928, 1933, 1937, 1943, 1947, 1950, 1953, 1956), New York (1949, 1952) and London (1950) and retrospectives in Paris (1956, 1958, 1959, 1966, 1974, 1993), Zurich (1960), Nice (1961), Amsterdam (1961), Turin (1962), Geneva (1964) and Berlin (1993).

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