Mikhail F. Larionov (1881-1964)
Rayist composition In Red & Blue
Pastel and Pencil on Paper
One of the most important members of the Russian avant-garde and an artist of international standing, Mikhail F. Larionov (1881-1964) was among the founding members of Moscow’s Jack of Diamonds and the radical Donkey’s Tail in 1912. After creating pictures in several modernist styles from Impressionism to Futurism, together with his wife Natalia Goncharova, he developed a purely abstract approach known as Rayonism, a derivative of Futurist art that dealt more with the science of reflected and refracted light than with the mechanics of speed and the machine age (see Rayonist Composition, pastel on paper, circa 1912). In 1915, after one year in the Czar’s army, he and Goncharova moved to Switzerland to work with Sergei Diaghalev and his Ballets Russes. In 1919 they settled in Paris and continued to work on ballet sets and costumes whose radical interpretations influenced generations to come.