Latvian painter, sculptor, graphic artist, designer and teacher, active in Russia.
He was an important exponent of Russian Constructivism. He studied in Riga and Petrograd (now. St. Petersburg), but in the 1917 October revolution joined the Latvian Rifle Regiment to defend the Bolshevik government; his sketches of Lenin and his fellow soldiers show Cubist influence.
In 1918 he designed posters and decorations for the May Day celebrations and entered the Free Art Studios (Svomas) in Moscow, where he studied with Malevich and Antoine Pevsner. Dynamic City (1919; Athens, George Costakis priv. col., see Rudenstine, no. 339) illustrates his adoption of the Suprematist style.
In 1920 Klucis exhibited with Pevsner and Naum Gabo on Tverskoy Boulevard in Moscow; in the same year Klucis joined the Communist Party.
In 1920 – 1921 he started experimenting with materials, making constructions from wood and paper that combined the geometry of Suprematism with a more Constructivist concern with actual volumes in space.
In 1922 Klucis applied these experiments to utilitarian ends when he designed a series of agitprop stands based on various combinations of loudspeakers, speakers’ platforms, display units, film projectors and screens. He taught a course on colour in the Woodwork and Metalwork Faculty of the Vkhutemas (Higher Artistic and Technical Workshops) from 1924 to 1930, and in 1925 helped to organize the Soviet section at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels interested in photomontage, using it in such agitprop posters as ‘We will replay the coal debt to the country’ (1928; e.g. New York, NOMA). During the 1930s he worked on graphic and typographic design for periodicals and official publications. He was arrested and died during the purges in World War II.
His works are exibited:
American Modern Art Museum, New - York, American Modern Art Museum, San - Francisko, Modern Art Museum at Barselona, Spain, Canadian National Gallery, Ottawa, State Tretjakow gallery, Moscow.