Xenia Boguslavskaya

Xenia Leonidovna Boguslavskaya (Born 24 January 1892 in Veliky Novgorod, Russian Empire; Died 3 May 1973 in Paris) was a Russian avant-garde artist (Futurist, Suprematist), poet and interior decorator. Her husband Ivan Puni was also a painter. She seems to be the originator of the Mavva (symbol of the World Evil) featured in poems written by Velimir Khlebnikov.

Xenia Leonidowna Boguslawskaja
Xenia Leonidowna Boguslawskaja


Early Life (...-1913)

Boguslavskaya's mother was from Greece, her father was Caucasian and a high officer in the Tsarist army. She received her first art lessons in a Saint Petersburg art school. She met Ivan Albertovich Puni, her future husband, when she was 16. Because she supported socialist ideas, she had to flee under a false name in 1910. Two years later she met Puni again in Naples; they moved to Paris together. In Paris, Boguslavskaya studied art from 1911 to 1913 and met exiled Russians and Russian avant-garde artists. In the French capital she attended a Russian academy and earned her living as a draughtswoman of flower cards and designs of fabrics.

Period in Saint Petersburg (1913-1919)

Due to an amnesty, Boguslavskaya was able to return to Saint Petersburg in 1913. There she eventually married Puni and her flat became a meeting place for the Russian avant-garde artists and poets. Furthermore, she supported Futurist publications and became a mediator between the contending groups. With Puni she published the cubo-futurist booklet Roaring Parnassus in 1914. In 1915-1916 with other Suprematist artists, she worked in the Verbovka Village Folk Centre in the Ukrainian province near Kiev. She exhibited at the first Futurist exhibition in 1915, and helped organize the Suprematist 0.10 Exhibition in late 1915. She was also a member of Jack of Diamonds (1919) and Mir iskusstva (1916–1918). She was also the organiser of the Tramway 5 and 0,10 exhibitions in December 1915, and a text by her and Puni on an art action became the manifesto for the 0,10 exhibition, for which they painted a picture together with other artists. In 1919, Boguslavskaya and Puni briefly moved to Vizebsk to teach at the art school. This was at the suggestion of the director there, Marc Chagall. During the year 1915, Boguslavskaya joined the Supremus, a group of avant-garde artists. Some group members included (Liubov Popova, Nadezhda Udaltsova, Varvara Stepanova, Aleksandra Ekster, Ivan Kliun, Nina Genke-Meller, Ivan Puni and others. The group was led by the founder of Suprematism, Kazimir Malevich.

Period in Berlin (1918-1924)

At the end of 1919 she and Puni escaped from the Soviet Union across the ice of the Gulf of Finland. She lived in Berlin from 1919 to 1923, working as a scene designer for the Russian-German cabaret called Der Blaue Vogel and for the Russian Romantic Theatre. In Berlin, she established ties with the International Futurists, including poet Ruggero Vasari and Karlis Zale. Boguslavskaya was represented with several works at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition in 1922. Kurt Schwitters dedicated his Merz painting Construction for Noble Women to her.

Period in Paris (1924-...)

In 1924 they started over in Paris after living in Berlin for five years. Boguslavskaya came up as a costume designer and fabric designer for the finances until Puni gradually achieved notoriety as a painter.

Later Life (1930-...)

From 1930, she gave up her own work and became involved in Puni's work, organising exhibitions for him and publishing Puni's catalogue of works in 1972. Her husband died in Paris in 1956; she donated 12 paintings by Puni to the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris in 1959 and donated some of his engravings and other papers to the National Library of France in 1966. She exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in 1966 and helped organize an exhibition of Puni's works at the Musée de l'Orangerie the same years. Xenia Boguslavskaya died in Montparnasse, Paris on 3 May 1972 at the age of 81.


Xenia Leonidowna Boguslawskaja - La Promenade des Elegants.
Xenia Leonidowna Boguslawskaja - La Promenade des Elegants.


  • Lea Vergine: L' autre moitié de l'Avant-Garde 1910/1940. Femmes peintres et femmes sculpteurs dans les mouvements d'avant-garde historiques. Ed.: Mireille Tansman-Zanuttini. Des Femmes, Paris 1982, ISBN 2-7210-0234-1.
  • Jörk Rothamel: Boguslavskaya, Ksenija. In: Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon. The Visual Artists of All Times and Nations (AKL). Vol. 42, Saur, Munich et al. 2004, ISBN 3-598-22782-5, p. 449.
  • Ingrid Pfeiffer, Max Hollein (eds.): Sturm-Frauen: Female Avant-Garde Artists in Berlin 1910-1932. Wienand, Cologne 2015, ISBN 978-3-86832-277-4, p. 346.


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Digital Suprematism
El Lissitzky
Kazimir Malevich
Ksenia Boguslavskaya
Ksenia Leonidowna Boguslavskaya
Kseniya Boguslavskaya
Kseniya Leonidowna Boguslavskaya
Roaring Parnassus
Russian Constructivism
Xenia Boguslavskaya
Xenia Leonidowna Boguslavskaya


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This page was last changed on 2021-09-21.