Born in 1882, David Davidovic Burliuk was both an artist and a poet, the scion of a Ukrainian family of painters and illustrators. In 1898 he attended art schools in Russia before continuing his studies at the Munich Art Academy in 1902-03 and then in Paris in 1904, returning to Russia to the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture for the years 1911-14.
There Burliuk met the poet and graphic artist Vladimir Mayakovsky, with whom he endorsed the 1912 Futurist Manifesto “A Box on the Ears for the Public Taste”, demanding art for Russia that was independent of Europe and drew on Russian tradition. This pronouncement became the agenda for a boundary-crossing commitment to this new style in both the visual arts and literature, which was distilled into drawings, poems and contributions to Futurist magazines and books.
After taking part in the “Blauer Reiter” in Munich in 1912-13 and showing work at the first German Autumn Salon, David Davidovic Burliuk was given the opportunity of presenting Russian art at a group show at the Van Diemen Gallery in Berlin in 1922.
That same year David Davidovic Burliuk moved to New York, becoming an American citizen in 1930. In the US he continued to work both as a painter and writer on art. His paintings are notable for continuous assimilation of the most recent stylistic movements, which made him an ideal vehicle for disseminating avant-garde trends.
Starting from a personal approach to Impressionism, which after 1900 was notable for emphatically pastose handling of paint, he went on to Fauvism and Neo-Primitivism.
During his Cubo-Futurist phase Burliuk blended traditional folk art with analytical Cubist influences and this phase was followed during the First World War by a series of Symbolist pictures informed by a philosophy of history.
In the US Burliuk continued his stylistic pluralism, making replicas of paintings left behind in Russia and coming to terms with the horrors of war in the group of works entitled “Stalingrad’s Children” (1930-44) by introducing elements of Magic Realism, before turning in his late work to realistic landscapes and portraits.
David Davidovic Burliuk died on Long Island, New York, in 1967.