Gustav Klutsis (1895-1938), paper/ink, 32/42cm
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Born in Ķoņi parish, near Rūjiena, Klutsis began his artistic training in Riga in 1912. In 1915 he was drafted into the Russian Army, serving in a Latvian riflemen detachment, then went to Moscow in 1917. As a soldier of the 9th Latvian Riflemen Regiment, Klutsis served among Vladimir Lenin‘s personal guard in the Smolny in 1917-1918 and was later transferred to Moscow to serve as part of the guard of the Kremlin (1919-1924).
In 1918-1921 he began art studies under Kazimir Malevich and Antoine Pevsner, joined the Communist Party, met and married longtime collaborator Valentina Kulagina, and graduated from the state-run art school VKhUTEMAS. He would continue to be associated with VKhUTEMAS as a professor of color theory from 1924 until the school closed in 1930.