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  IVAN PUNI (JEAN POUGNY). BIOGRAPHY РУ DE EN

Many articles and exhibition catalogues have been published about Ivan Puni alias Jean Pougny (the Francophone form used after 1925). His main biographer was his widow Xenia Boguslavskaya (Xana), who outlived her husband by 15 years. A professional artist herself and an experienced art dealer, she devoted her life to popularising her husband's work. After he passed away, she began preparing his catalogue raisonné, held a dozen museum exhibitions, published a dozen catalogues. Who else but her should have the most accurate and the most detailed information about the life and work of Puni? Many authors who wrote about him later trusted her publications. The reality turned out to be more complicated and richer: in fact Xana allowed herself to edit a lot of things - both in Pougny's work and in his biography. In his work, in order to reconstruct the lost works (first of all reliefs, but also paintings and graphics). In his biography, she left out some details (for example, Puni's service as a postal official), and also for some unclear reason claimed her husband was four years younger than he really was, changing the year of his birth from 1890 to 1894. Nevertheless, the foundation laid by Xana remains the main source of knowledge about Jean Pougny.
Here are the main monographs on Pougny, in which an extensive list of publications devoted to him can be found:
  1. Berninger, Herman & Cartier, Jean-Albert. Pougny. Jean Pougny (Iwan Puni) 1892—1956. Catalogue de l'oeuvre. Tome 1: Les Années d'avant-garde, Russie — Berlin, 1910—1923. Tübingen, Éditions Ernst Wasmuth, 1972.
    Berninger, Herman. Pougny. Jean Pougny (Iwan Puni) 1892—1956. Catalogue de l'oeuvre. Tome 2: Paris-Cote d’Azur, 1924—1956, Peintures. Tübingen, Éditions Ernst Wasmuth, 1992.
    A two-volume catalogue raisonné, the main source on the life and work of Jean Pougny. Xana prepared the material for this catalogue, Cartier wrote the texts based on her contributions, and Berninger arranged for publication at Ernst Wasmuth Verlag. For details of this two-volume catalogue, see the section CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ.
  2. Iwan Puni. 1892—1956. Katalog zur Ausstellung des Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris und der Berlinischen Galerie. Bearb. v. Jean-Louis Andral, Jean-Claude Marcadé und Marie-Anne Chambost. Stuttgart, Hatje, 1993.
    Catalogue of the 1993 exhibition in Paris and Berlin to mark the Pougny's hundredth birthday, French and German editions. It is the most serious and scholarly publication on Pougny of all, but even here a dubious relief from the notorious "Curt Benedict collection" found its way into the catalogue.
  3. 0,10 Iwan Puni. Werke aus der Sammlung Herman Berninger, Zürich und Fotografien der russischen Revolution aus der Sammlung Ruth und Peter Herzog, Basel. Ausstellungskatalog Museum Jean Tinguely, 2003.
    Catalogue of the Berninger collection exhibition at the Tinguely Museum (2003). Despite the rich factual material (documents and photographs obtained by Berninger from Xana), this book unfortunately can't be considered as serious: in the 1990s, the elderly collector was misled about the authenticity of Puni's works from the Petrograd period and acquired (and exhibited) more than two dozen fakes; it is embarrassing to read those passages in his catalogue articles where he tries to attribute these forgeries.
  4. Сарабьянов, Дмитрий. Иван Пуни, 1892—1956 (серия «Художники русской эмиграции»). М.: Искусство-XXI век, 2007.
    This monograph - the first and so far the only one in Russian - is written with great sympathy for the artist and covers his creative path in detail. Unfortunately, Dmitry Sarabianov relied on earlier publications about Pougny and materials provided by Berninger. As a result, among other things, unreliable information was transferred into the book. A few newly introduced untrue works also cause annoyance.
Archival searches conducted in recent years have uncovered a wealth of new material to correct and supplement the data on Pougny, which was traditionally passed from text to text previously. The new material is partially published in the following articles:

Biographical information, corrected and supplemented
  Before 1917 the dates are given according to the old calendar

22 March 1890,
St-Petersburg
Ivan Albertovich Puni was born to Albert Cesarevich Puni, a cellist of the Imperial Theatres, and his wife Lidia Mikhailovna; on 4 April 1890 he was baptised in the Matveevskaya Church, the parish church of St. Matthew the Apostle, at the corner of Matveevsky Lane and Bolshaya Pushkarskaya Street in St-Petersburg. Puni's own house - 56, Bolshoy Prospekt - belonged to its parish. For a long time it was common to erroneously give Puni's birth year as 1894 or 1892; his Birth certificate was found (by Alexey Rodionov) in October 2019 in the archive (ЦГИА 19-125-1092). Ivan himself correctly stated his date of birth as 22 March 1890 - for example in 1915 in his application form when he joined the Post Office (see А. Родионов. Новое о выставке «0,10» и о ее организаторе Иване Пуни // Искусствознание, №1-2, 2020, с. 232-271).
Ivan's father, Albert Cesarevich Puni (28 March 1848, London - 18 October 1925, Kuokkala) played cello at the Mariinsky Theatre. He was son of the Italian composer Cesare Pugni (31 May 1802, Genoa - 14 January 1870, St-Petersburg) and the Englishwoman Maria Linton, they moved from London to St-Petersburg in 1851.
Ivan's mother, Lydia Mikhailovna Lomakina, by her first husband Saltykova, by her second husband Puni (2 May 1848, Vorontsovo village, Kalyazin uyezd, Tver province - 15 June 1905, St-Petersburg) was landowner, the widow of Sergei Saltykov (1829-1872), a brother of M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin.
After the death of his wife in 1905, Albert Cesarevich married the house maid Julia Mikhailovna Kaul and officially recognized the two illegitimate daughters born to her. To do this, he left Catholicism, joined Orthodoxy and changed his name to Andrey. For more on Ivan's childhood and family, see in: А. Родионов. Расшифровывая Пуни. Часть 1. Ранние годы // Вестник истории, литературы, искусства, т. XV, 2022, с. 144-162.
Birth and baptismal record of Ivan Albertovich Puni in the metric book of the parish church of St Matthew the Apostle on the Petersburg side (ЦГИА 19-125-1092) Ivan Puni as a baby
1890
With Maria, the older sister
ca. 1896
1899-1902 studied in the first class of the real school of the Karl May School (September - December 1899), then at the Vvedensky Gymnasium (first and second classes, September 1900 - May 1902).
1902–1907 On 1 September 1902 he was enrolled as an intern in the third class of the Nicholas Cadet Corps (23 Officerskaya Str., St-Petersburg), in May 1907 he was promoted to "vice unter-officer" and released "on the side".
Drawing by Ivan Puni at the entrance exam for the third class of the Nicholas Cadet Corps
May 1902
1904 1907 1907, Kuokkala
Ivan Puni (in hat) standing; sitting in the centre: Ivan's stepmother Julia Mikhailovna (born Kaul; 1863-18.8.1933, Kuokkala) and his father Andrey Puni (28 March 1848, London - 18 October 1925, Kuokkala); their daughters (Ivan's half-sisters) Olga (Olga Andreyevna Puni, married Kobylanskaya-Goryanskaya; 23.07.1903-1981, Paris) and Julia (Julia Andreyevna Puni, married Efron; 28.01.1901-22.03.1993, Bloomfield, USA) on his lap.
1908-1910 took private drawing lessons in St-Petersburg.
1910-1912 first trip to Paris. He was noted in the studio at 9, rue Campagne Première (together with Yuri Annenkov). Attended private schools, e.g. Académie Julian. During a trip to Naples he met Xana (Xenia Boguslavskaya, an acquaintance from Kuokkala), who was studying at the Academy of Arts there.
Xana in the Carpathian Mountains
1911
Xana in Lviv on her way to Naples
1911
Xana
1912
Yuri Annenkov. Portrait of Ivan Puni. 1911, Paris Yuri Annenkov. Portrait of Ivan Puni. 1912, Paris. 9, rue Campagne Première
1912 In spring returned to St-Petersburg, participated in the 4th exhibition of the Union of Youth (4-25 December 1912) with the painting "Breakfast", which caused a lively discussion.
1913 Together with Xana he actively participates in the Futurists life, their flat at the corner of Bolshoy and Gatchinskaya Street becomes a meeting place for them. Preparation of the collection "Roaring Parnassus". Participated in the 5th exhibition of the Union of Youth (10 November 1913 - 12 January 1914) with three fauvist paintings (a landscape, "Reaper" and "Susanna and the Elders").
1914 Travelled to Europe (Paris, Marseille, Brussels). Participated in the 30th Salon of Independents (three paintings: "Bather", "Interior", "Self-Portrait"). Correspondence with Malevich, preparation of the exhibition "Tramway V". With the outbreak of war - return to Russia.
1915 "The First Futurist Exhibition "Tramway V"" (3 March - 2 April 1915, the Small Hall of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts); Puni is the official organiser.
At the end of February he enters the service as an official in the Post Office, where he worked until July 1918.
"The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings "0.10"" (19 December 1915 - 19 January 1916, Art Bureau of N.E. Dobychina); Puni was again the official organiser.
He also participated in two exhibitions of arts and crafts at the Lemercier Gallery (Moscow, 6 November - 7 December 1915 and 26 December 1915 - 26 January 1916).
1916 12 January 1916 - "Scientific-Popular Lecture of the Suprematists" (together with Malevich) at the Tenishevsky School. Participated in five exhibitions.
1917 Participated in the СДИ (Union of Art Workers) and the Committee for Protection of Monuments. Participated in three exhibitions. Published several fairy tales for children.
1918 Participated in the decoration of Petrograd for May and November holidays. From October 1918 he was employed at the Fine Arts Department of the People's Commissariat of Education as professor at ПГСХУМ (former Academy of Arts) - until the end of 1919. Participated in two exhibitions.
1919 At Chagall's invitation he went to Vitebsk together with Xana and a part of his students, from January to April 1919 he worked at the Vitebsk Art School. He was a member of the Collegium for Arts and Art Industry of Vitebsk province (M. Chagall - chairman of the Collegium, K. Boguslavskaya - head of the Art Industry section, I. Puni - head of the Artistic Agitation and Propaganda section). Published two articles in the newspaper "Art of the Commune" (Petrograd) and five articles in the collection "Revolutionary Art" (Vitebsk). On his return to Petrograd, he continued teaching at ПГСХУМ and co-operated with the Porcelain Factory. Participated in two exhibitions, including the First State Free Exhibition at the former Winter Palace.
1920 At the end of January/beginning of February 1920 together with Xana and the Shukhaev couple left for Finland across the ice of the Gulf of Finland. In October 1920 moved to Berlin.
1921 Solo exhibition at Galerie Der Sturm (February 1921). Publication (together with Hausmann, Arp and Moholy-Nagy) of the proclamation "Towards Elementary Art" in the magazine De Stijl.
1922-1923 Communicated extensively with advanced European artists, his circle of contacts included Piet Mondrian, Amédée Ozenfant, Gino Severini, Rudolf Belling, László Moholy-Nagy, Hans Richter, Karl Zalit (who had also arrived from Russia), as well as Dadaists (Kurt Schwitters and others).
Participated in the First Congress of the International Union of Progressive Artists in Düsseldorf (29-31 May 1922), where he was at the centre of a discussion on the nature of modern art. Participated in six exhibitions, including the First Russian Exhibition (Van Diemen Gallery, October-December 1922) and the November Group exhibitions.
On 3 November 1922 he gave a talk on modern art at the Berlin House of Arts. Publication of the brochure "Modern Painting" (Современная живопись. Берлин, 1923, изд. Л.Д. Френкель).
1923, autumn Moving to Paris. Since then he has exhibited regularly.
1925 Solo exhibition at Galerie Barbazanges.
1933 Solo exhibition at Galerie Jeanne Castel.
1940 In view of the Nazi occupation of Paris, a move to the south of France (Antibes) with the Delaunay couple.
1942 Return to Paris.
1943 Solo exhibition at Galerie Louis Carré.
1947 Pougny was granted French citizenship, the decree published on 24 August.
1947-1956 Solo exhibitions: Galerie de France (1947, 1950), Knoedler (1949, 1952), Adams Brothers (1950), Coard (1953, 1956).
1951 suffered a stroke.
1952 was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
1956, 28 December Jean Pougny suffered a heart attack; he was taken from his studio to the Boucicaut Hospital, where his death was recorded at 12:50 noon. The funeral took place on 2 January 1957 at the Montparnasse cemetery.