QUERY: Aleksei Vasilevich Babichev and Anton Lavinsky. Little known vanguards of the russian avant garde

Philip Marshall's picture


I am interested in the work, life, history of these two Russian artists, particularly in relation to their sculptural work. Although both would seem to have occupied key positions in the development of "Constructivism" and communist art in the early 1920s, their work in relation to that of their colleagues seems virtually unknown ( at least outside of Russia).

Aleksei Babichev occupied the post of director at the INKhUK for 2 years after members rejected the proposals of Kandinsky, and was involved in many artists teaching groups. Amongst others he taught at the VKhUTEMUS, and was founder of the MONOLIT group of sculptors. I have formed the opinion, perhaps wrongly, that he was a serious academic artist and at least up until 1926 was deeply involved in the constructivist / cubist movements in Moscow.

It would appear that he knew and in some cases worked alongside , Ladovsky, Malevich, Tatlin, Kandinsky, Lissitzky, Popova, Lavinsky, Rodchenko, Krinsky. and yet with the exception of a small number of pieces his sculpture is unfamiliar even to academics, collectors, and other specialists in the field of constructivist and Russian futuro cubism.

Anton Lavinsky, is perhaps better known due to his Poster for the film Battleship Potemkin 1925, and his cooperation with Alexander Rodchenko in the design and setting up of the Russian exhibit for the Paris 1925 exhibition ( working mens club ). He would appear to have led a more colorful and perhaps ideologically confused life. He was certainly friends with The Briks and Rodchenko and by association perhaps some of the activist artists in the European communist movement such as Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet, though this is pure speculation on my part. Any useful information particularly in relation to sculptural works, but also in a general sense, would be greatly appreciated.