Avant-garde Art Movements


“Beat the Whites With the Red Wedge”—El Lissitzky, 1919


Experimental and Extreme are the two words that best describe the approach of all the artists of the Avant-garde movements and their artists.

  • Look at the technologies they explored during their lifetime as inspiration for the work they did.
  • Look at the Modernist approach to form and choice of materials that characterized their work.

Cubism should be seen as a foundation and seminal movement of art and design, which influenced the other Avant Garde movements which followed. Do not pick artists from the cubist movement to be one of the subjects in your assignment, but do look for ways in which Cubism influenced your artists.

Below are key artists and a brief description of the main art/design movements of this era. Names in bold are major players and perhaps easier to find research on them. You may also choose another designer from one of the Modernist Era movements that I have not listed here.

Use these links to download a PowerPoint slide show containing images from some of the major designers of the Avant Garde.

Use these links to read about the Avant–garde in the original form of their manifestos.



“Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”—Picasso, 1907


CUBISM (fragmentation, multi-view, subdued color) the art movement which influence all of art and design movements which have followed. You may not use Cubism or one of the Cubist artists in this book. They are instead to be thought of as major influences on the other designers that came after them.



“Futurist Words In Freedom”—F.T. Marinetti, 1919

FUTURISM or CUBO-FUTURISM (dynamism, motion and movement, loud powerful machine; locomotive, race cars, airplanes)—Italian



The Poem “Karawane” recited by Hugo Ball, 1916

DADA, (hobbyhorse, nonsense, anti-war, anti-art)—Switzerland, (ZURICH), Germany, (Berlin), U.S. (New York), France, (Paris)

Recommended Dada links


BERLIN DADA (social political messages)



“Dynamic Suprematism No 57”—Kasimir Malevich, 1916





“Lengiz books on All Subjects!”—Alexander Rodchenko, 1925

CONSTRUCTIVISM (asembling the page layout similar to the construction of a building)—Russian


“Red and Blue Chair”—Gerrit Rietveld, 1918–1923

DE STIJL (the style, neo Plasticism)—Holand


BAUHAUS becomes known as the Swiss style after the war (form follows function, structure, organization unified design, non-decorative, sans serif type)—German



  • Léon Bakst (RussianЛеон (Лев) Николаевич Бакст, Leon (Lev) Nikolaevich Bakst) – born as Leyb-Khaim Izrailevich (later SamoylovichRosenberg, Лейб-Хаим Израилевич (Самойлович) Розенберг (27 January (8 February) 1866– 28 December 1924) was a Russian painter and scene and costume designer. He was a member of the Sergei Diaghilev circle and the Ballets Russes, for which he designed exotic, richly coloured sets and costumes.