For the New Human Being. Russian avant-garde design. From the Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein) collection

Museum de Fundatie - Paleis a/d Blijmarkt, Zwolle

7 June to 14 September 2014


The first decades of the 20th century belong to the most exciting and innovative years in the history of Russian art. Between 1910 and 1930, artists in Russia succeeded in creating a completely new visual language in which old art was replaced by a new revolutionary artistic universe. Figuration was rejected and a totally abstract art arose, consisting of geometrical forms in white, black and the primary colours. The artists associated themselves with the train of thought of the Russian revolutions and presented an ideal new society and the dream of utopia. It was art for those who had cast off their shackles. With the exhibition entitled For the New Human Being. Russian avant-garde design, Museum de Fundatie draws attention to that revolutionary period. The exhibition, which will run from 7 June to 14 September 2014, will display approximately 110 drawings, collages, photo-collages, book illustrations and objects by El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko and Vladimir Tatlin, among others. The items have been made available by the Sepherot Foundation in Liechtenstein, which strives for the preservation and presentation of the pioneering work of Russian avant-garde artists.


Geometrical-abstract art

The first decades of the 20th century in Russia witnessed not only political-social upheaval, but also radical change within the arts, nourished by the same progressive mentality. In abstract art, people such as Lissitzky, Malevich, Rodchenko and Tatlin discovered a future-oriented form of expression that could be used to advance toward a new era. The Black Square on a White Background, which Malevich presented in 1915, was promoted from a primal form of the visual environment to an icon of a new start in art. While Malevich championed suprematism as the complete liberation from figuration, as an expression of pure experience, the constructivists pursued new design principles oriented toward function and material. Inspired by the Revolution of 1917, many young Russian artists wished to contribute to the general transformation of society. The suprematists aimed at extending art to all facets of material, mental and spiritual life and thus give societal life a new impulse. The constructivists wished to involve art in applied practices in order to contribute to social change via production. To the Bauhaus in Germany and De Stijl in the Netherlands, the artists around Lissitzky, Malevich, Rodchenko and Tatlin served as examples and trailblazers.


Sepherot Foundation

After Stalin had terminated the short period of such avant-gardistic aspirations, these works disappeared from public life. Down through the years, the Sepherot Foundation in Liechtenstein has managed to trace and collect many of these pieces. For the exhibition in Museum de Fundatie, the Foundation has made available an attractive selection from its substantial collection. In this way, it wishes to contribute to the distribution of Russia’s cultural-artistic legacy, and to draw the public’s attention to forgotten names and works from Russian art history.


Russian avant-garde design

On the basis of graphic work and objects, the exhibition For the New Human Being. Russian avant-garde design provides clear insight into the furious development of Russian design in the early 20th century. The inexhaustible wealth of experiments and designs from this florescence gives an indication of the affluence of creative potential at that time. Museum de Fundatie presents an assortment of work by artists who enthusiastically adopted radically new concepts of geometrical-abstract art, and applied them to all realms of visual and applied art.


The following artists are represented at the exhibition: Natalia Goncharova, Vasily Yermilov, Michael Larionov, El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Nadezhda Udaltsova, Ivan Puni, Lyubov Popova, Alexander Rodchenko, Olga Rozanova, Nikolai Suetin, Vladimir Stenberg, Varvara Stepanova, Vladimir Tatlin, Ilya Chashnik and Jakov Chernichov. Their influence on art, architecture and design is still tangible right down to the present day.



Museum de Fundatie accommodates and administers a substantial collection of visual art whose origin lies in the collection of Dick Hannema, the former director of Museum Boijmans in Rotterdam. This collection was later significantly supplemented with the art collection of the Province of Overijssel among others. Museum de Fundatie has two splendid locations: Kasteel het Nijenhuis near Heino, and the Paleis a/d Blijmarkt in Zwolle.


Museum de Fundatie receives support from the Province of Overijssel, the Municipality of Zwolle and the BankGiro Lottery.

Founders: Baker Tilly Berk, Bouwfonds Cultuurfonds, DeltaWonen B.V., Deltion College, DSM Resins B.V., Èpos Press B.V., Hemmink B.V., NS, Novon Schoonmaak, Nysingh advocaten-notarissen, Rabobank IJsseldelta, Unica Installatietechniek, Waanders, Wavin B.V., Wijzonol Bouwverven, Windesheim, Zehnder Group Nederland/J.E. Stork Air, O. de Leeuw B.V., Turing Foundation, VandenEnde Foundation, VSBfonds, SNS Reaalfonds.



Exhibition: For the New Human Being. Russian avant-garde design

Period: 7 June to 14 September 2014

Location: Paleis a/d Blijmarkt, Blijmarkt 20, 8011 NE Zwolle

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11.00-17.00

Information:, or +31 (0)572-388188

Evants calendar
< January 2019 >
Russian Space With the participation of Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein)
18.05.2016 – 18.09.2016
Revoliutsiia! Demonstratsiia! Soviet Art Put to the Test The Art Institute of Chicago
28.10.2017 – 15.01.2018