Pougny’s multifacetted artistic career is a story of two halves, punctuated by a four-year period spent in Berlin from 1920-1924, after which he settled in France where he was to remain for the rest of his life, taking French citizenship in 1946. It was the body of work he produced in Russia during the 1910s that has sealed his reputation as one of the greats of European modernist art. In Western Europe and North America, after the Second World War, his international stature grew with the rise in interest in the Russian avant-garde, and long before this for his activities in Berlin, he was an actor in European modernism itself. The pinnacle - and swansong - of his artistic achievements was a solo exhibition curated by himself at Herwarth Walden’s avant-garde Der Sturm Gallery in 1920. After his death and in the early 1960s, there were numerous major retrospective shows of his work held throughout Europe including at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Kunsthaus in Zurich. Since then, however, there has been undeservedly scant sole museum representation, only inclusion in key group exhibitions on the Russian avant-garde. A new reassessment of his entire oeuvre and contribution to the story of modernism is overdue. This Spring at Vickery Art we shall be celebrating the work of this somewhat neglected Russian avant-gardist.
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