An initiator of the Russian Futurist movement, David Burliuk (1882 ― 1967) was a poet and an artist. Steeped in Russian Modernism, the Futurists were founded on the principle that literature could not be left in the name of progress. Likewise, they sought to reconcile urban life with man so as to further man and not the machine. Technically a literary movement, Futurist work fastened typography and image to privilege text the way Impressionists privileged light. The results were complex paintings fusing Cubism and language.
Burliuk was expelled from Moscow in 1911 due to his “futuristic,” controversial aesthetic practice. With slight irony, the artist was born into Russian high society and primed to become an artistic leader and not one to rustle so many feathers. Upbeat and energetic, he studied at the traditional Kazan School of Fine Arts in 1898 and then in Odessa, Moscow, Munich and then in Paris at Ecole des Beaux-Arts. After World War I began, Burliuk traveled to Siberia, Japan and the South Seas, moving to Long Island, NY where he painted until his death in 1967.
On the forefront of the Russian Avant-Garde, Burliuk’s work is remembered for his extremely colorful canvases and almost architectural use of paint. He exhibited with the Blue Riders, experimented with symbolism, and from his extensive travels exercised neo-primitivism. His expressionist canvases are like thickly painted colorful firecrackers igniting Russian modernism.