Gustav Gustavovich KLUTSIS 1895 — 1938
Густав КЛУЦІС • Густав Густавович КЛУЦИС
Gustav Gustavovich Klutsis (Latvian: Gustavs Klucis) was born in 1895 near Rūjiena, Latvia. A pioneering photographer and major member of the Constructivist avant-garde in the early 20th century. He is known for the Soviet revolutionary and Stalinist propaganda he produced with his wife and collaborator Valentina Kulagina. Klutsis began his artistic training in Riga in 1912. In 1915 he was drafted into the Russian Army, serving in a Latvian riflemen detachment, then came to Moscow in 1918. In the next three years he began art studies under Malevich and Antoine Pevsner, joined the Communist Party, met and married his longtime collaborator Valentina Kulagina, and graduated from the state-run art school VKhUTEMAS. He would continue to be associated with VKhUTEMAS as a professor of color theory from 1924 until the school closed in 1930. Klutsis taught, wrote, and produced political art for the Soviet state for the rest of his life. As the political background degraded through the 1920s and 1930s, Klutsis and Kulagina came under increasing pressure to limit their subject matter and techniques. Once joyful, revolutionary and utopian, by 1935 their art was devoted to furthering Stalin`s cult of personality.
In 1938 Klutsis was arrested in Moscow, as he prepared to leave for the New York World`s Fair. He had been executed in Moscow in 1938, three weeks after his arrest.