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This focus on Khidekel’s avant-garde output was hurtful for the artist, who lived and worked well into the 1980s, heedless of changing political and critical tides. Khan-Magomedov thought that the reason Khidekel asked him to include student drawings in the style of classical architecture, in addition to his Suprematist works, was that, as a professor of architecture, Khidekel would be reluctant to be represented merely as an avant-gardist. In fact, another scholar, Yuri Yaralov, an admirer of Khidekel’s works who also became a family friend, wrote an important and lengthy article on Khidekel that included works from different periods and styles.

In my later correspondence with Khan-Magomedov during his preparation of his Khidekel monograph, I tried to explain that Khidekel was genuinely proud of all that he accomplished, including his post-avant-garde architectural designs – which likewise were based on Suprematist compositions. Khan-Magomedov had included in his monograph a few of Khidekel’s 1923 sketches of classical monuments from his student days at PIGI, and he had assumed that Khidekel’s later works were post-Suprematist. Khidekel, however, wished to be recognized for the entirety of his oeuvre, including his talents as a skilled draftsman. Even today, abstract artists are often seen as lacking the ability to draw. As an apprentice of the artist Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Khidekel brilliantly mastered drawing and watercolor, which first came to the attention of his professors and classmates at PIGI, and which would both help build his reputation and lend credibility to his avant-garde experiments.

Details

  • Title: Design for a Vertical Architecton
  • Creator: Lazar Khidekel (1904-1986, painter and architect)
  • Date Created: 1924
  • Location: Khidekel Family Collection, New York
  • Physical Dimensions: 12 x 9 ins
  • Subject Keywords: Suprematism movement, Avant-Garde, Abstraction, Suprematist architecture, Lazar Khidekel
  • Medium: Pencil on paper

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