Ivan Kliun

Born: 1873, Bolshie Gorki (Vladimir Province)
Died: 1943, Moscow

Painter, graphic artist, sculptor, teacher. Born in the family of a carpenter called Vasily Kliunkov in Vladimir Province (1873). Worked alongside his father at a sugar refinery in Ramon in Voronezh Province and lived with his uncle’s family in Lomza in Poland, where he finished high school and served in the army (1890s). Studied at the schools of drawing of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts in Warsaw and Kiev (1896–98) and at the studios of Ilya Mashkov and Fyodor Roehrberg in Moscow (1900–08), where he met Kazimir Malevich (1907). Forced to earn money by working as a bookkeeper and signed his works “Kliun” or “Kliunov” to hide his avant-garde activities from his employers (until 1927). Passed through periods of interest in Realism (1890s), Symbolism and Art Nouveau (1900–08), Impressionism (1908–11), Post-Impressionism (1911–13), Cubo-Futurism (1913–14) and Suprematism (1915–19). Member of Moscow Salon (1910–16), Supremus (1916), Knave of Diamonds (1916), Society of Easel Artists (1925), Four Arts (1925–27) and the Society of Russian Sculptors (1927). Signed Kazimir Malevich’s manifesto From Cubism to Suprematism: The New Painterly Realism (1915) and worked alongside the other Suprematists at the village of Verbovka near Kiev (1916). Director of the IZO Narkompros Central Exhibition Bureau (1917–21). Taught at the State Free Art Studios/VKhUTEMAS (1918–21) and worked at the Institute of Artistic Culture and Academy of Artistic Sciences (1920–21). Painted non-objective “spherical compositions” (1921–23) and studied the relationship between colour and form at the Museum of Painterly Culture (1924–25). Influenced by Purism and returned to figurative painting (late 1920s). Worked in a realistic style following accusations of Formalism (early 1930s) and the arrest of his son Georgy (1934). Expelled from the Vsekokhudozhnik cooperative (1938) and forced to earn a living by illustrating books for the Institute of Forestry (1938). Suffered the death of his wife (1939) and son Georgy in the Second World War (1942). Died in Moscow (1943). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1910). Contributed to the exhibitions of Moscow Salon (1911, 1914), Union of Youth (1913–14), Tramway V First Futurist Exhibition (1915), 0.10 Last Futurist Exhibition (1915–16), Store (1916), Knave of Diamonds (1916), World of Art (1917), V and X State Exhibitions (1919), First State Exhibition of Pictures by Local and Moscow Artists at the Borokhov Club in Vitebsk (1919), Four Arts (1925–26), Society of Easel Artists (1925), Society of Russian Sculptors (1927) and Die erste russische Kunstausstellung in Berlin (1922).

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