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Ideology and Identity:

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Chapter Summary

El Lissitzky is an enigmatic and fascinating creative figure with a multi-faceted identity and a complex set of allegiances. Lissitzky's artistic trajectory seems to move from the production of explicitly Jewish works like his illustrations for A Mischievous Boy of 1919 to painting abstract canvases that he called Prouns. Lissitzky was successively the Jewish artist, the Suprematist, and the Stalinist propagandist. Lissitzky's concern to combine his Jewish heritage with avant-garde approaches in Berlin was part of an earlier process and his activities in Germany did not represent a new departure in his work, but rather the continuation of an existing strand in his creative thinking. This chapter explores these notions further and revisits the idea that Lissitzky did not abandon his Jewish allegiances in 1919, although they might have taken second place for a while.

Keywords:Berlin; El Lissitzky; Germany; Jewish artistic renaissance; Prouns

10.1163/9789004227132_018
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