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Photo: Burliuk in 1914, aged 32
David Burliuk was a living, breathing art paradox. At first glance, his life was more interesting than his art. Or was his life, rather than his paintings, his real art? ... Burliuk is the nearly forgotten Zelig of art history. Born in the Ukraine, as a young man he high-tailed...
David Davidovich Burliuk (21 July 1882 – 15 Jan. 1967); Russian and Ukrainian Futurist, Neo-Primitivist, book illustrator, publicist, and author associated with Russian Futurism. Often described as "the father of Russian Futurism."
Born in Semyrotivka near the village of Riabushky (now Lebedyn District, Sumy Oblast) in the Kharkov Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine), brother of fellow artist Volodymyr (Wladimir) Burliuk in a family partly descended from Ukrainian Cossacks who held premier positions in the Hetmanate. His mother, Ludmila Mikhnevich, was of ethnic Belarusian descent. Because of his given name "David," Burliuk was frequently mistaken for being Jewish.
From 1898 to 1904 he studied at Kazan and Odessa art schools, as well as at the Royal Academy in Munich. His exuberant, extroverted character was recognized by Anton Azhbe, his professor at the Munich Academy, who called Burliuk a “wonderful wild steppe horse.”
In 1908 an exhibition with the group Zveno ("The Link") in Kiev was organized by David Burliuk together with Wladimir Baranoff-Rossine, Alexander Bogomazov, his brother Volodymyr (Wladimir) Burliuk and Aleksandra Ekster. In 1909 Burliuk painted a portrait of his future wife, Marussia, on a background of flowers and rocks on the Crimean coast. Many times thereafter he would set the image of his wife to canvas. Without question 2 dreams possessed his heart all his life: the face of his wife and the portrait of his homeland - first Ukraine and then his adopted country, the United States....