Iwan Puni, Synthetic Musician, 1921
Iwan Puni, Synthetic Musician, 1921

Ivan Puni (1892-1956)

Synthetic Musician, 1921

Ivan Puni came to Berlin in 1920; the city was an interim stage on his flight from Soviet Russia to his chosen home in Paris, where he had studied in 1910/11. In St. Petersburg/Petrograd, Puni had organised the two key exhibitions of the Russian avant-garde – “Tramway W” and the last Futurist exhibition “0,10” - in 1915 and 1916, which completed the transition from Cubism and Futurism to the abstract art of Suprematism. He was one of the signatories of the Suprematist Manifesto.
He also played an active part in the artistic life of the avant-garde in Berlin; an individual exhibition of his work was shown in Herwarth Walden’s gallery “Der Sturm” as early as 1921. He transformed the gallery into a synthesis of the arts, arranging for sandwich-men dressed in Cubist costumes to walk along the Kurfürstendamm. His “Synthetic Musician” - a musical, Chaplinesque figure for which Puni combined Cubist and realistic elements - created a sensation at the “Große Berliner Kunstausstellung” in 1922.
Puni also combined realistic, Cubist and constructive two-dimensional forms in his still-lifes, which clearly demonstrate the influence of Picasso.

Synthetic Musician
Oil on canvas, 145 x 98 cm
Acquired with funds from the Senate Offices for Cultural Affairs Berlin and donations, 1991.
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011