PAINTINGS 1912-1913 
 PAINTINGS 1914-1915 
 PAINTINGS 1916-1920 
 PAINTINGS 1921-1923 
 PAINTINGS 1924-1926 
 PAINTINGS 1926-1929 
 PAINTINGS 1928-1935 
 PAINTINGS 1933-1942 
 PAINTINGS 1942-1956 







The catalogue raisonné, the main source on the life and work of Ivan Puni/Jean Pougny, has been published in two volumes. The first volume, published in 1972, covers Puni's work before his move to Paris (1923), including paintings, reliefs, drawings and prints. The second volume (1992) includes only paintings after 1923.

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.

The titanic work of collecting material for this catalogue was done by Xenia Boguslavskaya. The texts on her material were written by Albert Cartier, and Herman Berninger organised the publication in the Ernst Wasmuth publishing house, which until 1974 was headed by Günther Wasmuth, an old friend and admirer of Pougny.

Xana started preparing material for the catalogue raisonné in 1961. Each piece had to be described with dimensions and a photograph, and she had to recall the year of its creation by circumstantial evidence. This painstaking work was extremely stressful for Xana, who was used to living a sprawling life and was not inclined to perfect order in small details. From her letter to Nathan Altman dated 30.01.1962:
"It's very difficult when things are so scattered around the world, and so I tirelessly search and photograph everything, and I have about 1,500 photographs for the book "Tout oeuvre de Pougny", and I also have to go through every painting passport to determine the exact year. It's such a wild job, looking for addresses where we lived, what stuff for still lifes we bought and when, etc., different invoices, etc."
The first volume was published in 1972 while Xana was still alive. The second volume was published 20 years later. The fact of publishing the catalogue raisonné is in itself very important for the work with the artist's heritage, and from this point of view, the enormous work of the people who published these two volumes is admirable. Nevertheless, from the point of view of scientific thoroughness, the catalogue raisonné requires a critical examination. Let us examine the first and second volumes in turn, as they contain substantially different and differently interpreted material.

The second volume, covering painting after 1923, is mostly fine. It lists 998 numbers created by Pougny over 33 years in France, from the end of 1923 to December 1956. These are overwhelmingly oil or mixed media paintings on canvas or cardboard, ranging from the smallest surviving studies. With so many works, it's only natural that some of them have escaped Xana's attention, especially if they were sold long ago. In order to roughly estimate the proportion of paintings not covered, we carried out a spot check. The catalogue of Pougny's solo exhibition at the Galerie de France from 7-30 November 1950 was taken as an example, and the task was to find out whether all the works in the exhibition catalogue were included in the catalogue raisonné. As a result, 39 works with reference to the exhibition at the Galerie de France in 1950 out of 46 were found in the catalogue raisonné, 32 of them with the respective exhibition catalogue number and 7 "out of catalogue". A further 7 works from the exhibition (that's about 15%) are not mentioned in the catalogue. The 15% of works that escaped Xana's attention is the proportion for the 1950 exhibition; it can be assumed that for earlier items the percentage not covered would be somewhat higher.

Let us mention an inconsistency related to Pouny's last work. In the catalogue raisonné, Pougny's last work is named as No. 1207 "Courses" from the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art (Paris). This does not coincide with data from Gindertael's monograph on Pougny, published two months after his death (Gindertael R. V. Pougny. Geneve, Cailler, 1957), in which the last illustration is signed "Beach (23 x 18.5). Pougny's last work of art. December 1956.". This small painting was donated by Xana through Nadezhda Léger in 1970 to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (Moscow) and is kept there under Inv.-No. Ж-4090 (Beach, 1956, oil, canvas glued on masonite, 19.4 x 24 cm).

In the first catalogue volume, covering the most dynamic years (1910-1923), there are a lot of inaccuracies. Moreover, the incompleteness of the catalogue due to the loss of many works from the Petrograd period is the least of the problems of the first volume. Much more questions are raised by deliberate manipulations with dating and exhibition histories. For example, for lost items, reconstructions of which have been made, there is no information about when and by whom they were made, and information about their existence is given mixed for the original and for the replica, creating confusion. No less foggy than the falsifications are the omissions and reservations. For example, for none of the paintings or reliefs, dated before 1920 and stored in the West, there is not even a hint as to how they got there. Of course, this does not add credibility to their provenance and raises doubts about their authenticity. Questionable techniques, which sometimes pay dividends on the art market, are hardly permissible in a scientific publication, which the catalogue raisonné is intended to be. Anyway, Xana has set riddles, providing us with a fascinating process of solving them. In some places the clues lie on the surface, in other places everything is cleaned up and no key is visible.
Let's take a closer look at each of the first volume sections: Painting (Nos. 1-98), Reliefs (Nos. 99-114), Abstract Drawings (Nos. 115-150), Figurative Drawings (Nos. 151-266), Theatre Costumes (Nos. 267-281), Prints (No. 282-298).

Painting (Nos. 1-98)
Of the 98 painting numbers, 36 are lost. The titles of many lost works are simply reproduced from the exhibition catalogues of "Tramway V" (1915), "0,10" (1915) and "Jack of Diamonds" (1916). For 10 of the lost items their photographs or the photographs of drafts are given. Lost banners, which hung 1918 in Petrograd for revolutionary holidays (Nos. 52,53,54) are illustrated with photographs of drafts recreated in 1921 for an exhibition at the Sturm Gallery in Berlin. The original drafts of these and other banners are kept in the Russian Museum, but Xana did not have time to record them when she was there in 1959.
63 paintings are supplied with photographs, of which two (Nos. 5 and 51) relate to one double-sided work.
Speaking about the surviving paintings of the Petrograd period, today we can be sure of the undisputed provenance only for the things documented in the State Russian Museum and private collections in the 1920s. In the catalogue raisonné, these are 10 paintings from the Russian Museum, Nos. 17, 18, 50, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 63, 65, the Still Life with Chessboard No. 45 (Novgorod State United Museum, in the catalogue raisonné this work is incorrectly attached to the Russian Museum) and the still life No. 49 from the Costakis collection (now in the Manasherov collection). There is also no doubt about the origins of two still lifes of 1917 not mentioned in the catalogue raisonné - one from the State Tretyakov Gallery (inv. Ж-1321, came from Costakis), another from the Rybakov collection, both published in the 1993 exhibition catalogue on p. 128 and p. 129.
One work (No. 7, Self-Portrait), according to the description, was brought to Paris by the author in the spring of 1914 to participate in the 30th Salon des Indépendants. Another work (No. 3, Portrait of Father) was in the collection of Ivan's half-sister Julia (married Efron), who left Kuokkala in 1924. With regard to the rest of the early paintings of the Petrograd period, the catalogue raisonné leaves unanswered the question - how did these paintings get to France? It would seem that the catalogue raisonné is the place where this most important provenance information should be located. In their absence, doubts naturally arise as to the authenticity of the paintings. So how could they have got to France?
In the diaries of Ivan's older sister Maria (married Astrova), who left for France in 1925, there is a record of her giving Xana three of her brother's paintings (but these may have been later pieces), the record was made in 1962. All other works from Russia had to be delivered either by Xana herself or by someone at her request. Perhaps these were ways not approved by customs. The first time Xana visited Leningrad and Moscow was in July-August 1959, then in May 1961 and possibly 1962. Berninger much later spoke from Xana's words that she had smuggled a number of Puni's paintings from Leningrad to Paris with the help of a certain French diplomat and his diplomatic pouch. It is not possible to verify this version.
Unfortunately, there is another way in which Puni's early works could appear in Paris: reconstructions made by Xana or under her supervision. An example of this are the three gouaches Nos. 60,62,64, duplicating three paintings from the Russian Museum; for details, see Иван Пуни, проблема трех гуашей. Besides these gouaches, there are indications that Xana "conjured" with other paintings as well. For example, painting No. 59 from the State Russian Museum is illustrated in the catalogue raisonné with a photograph taken not from it, but from an approximate copy that never appeared anywhere else. Another example: in Gindertael's monograph (1957), published two months after the painter's death, photographs of paintings No. 38 ("Bains") and No. 46 ("Plate with Eggs") do not coincide in detail with their photographs in the catalogue raisonné, obviously they were also different things.
The Berlin period (1921-1923) was important for Puni from the point of view of the evolution of his manner and views on creativity, but because of the general unsettledness was not very fruitful in terms of the number of works created. From the two lost still lifes Nos. 90-91, executed on the verge of constructive naturalism and purism, only magazine photographs have survived. With the paintings that were at the First Russian Exhibition at Van Diemen's (1922), there was a confusion: for the still life No. 94 (Krasnodar Regional Art Museum named after F. A. Kovalenko), which was brought to the USSR after the exhibition, this exhibition is not mentioned in the catalogue raisonné, and instead the gouache study No. 89 (which is close in composition) was "sent" to the exhibition. Gouaches Nos. 71 and 79-88, in a manner close to the then Marcoussis, contain three pairs of close variants (Nos. 80-81, 82-83 and 85-86). Although Puni often made variants, honing the composition, it is still a cause for concern, given Xana's tendency to make replicas.
Fortunately, the first volume of the catalogue raisonné was published 20 years before the art market (along with Berninger, the catalogue's publisher) was hit by a wave of crude imitations of early Puni. More on this in the section FORGERIES.

Reliefs (Nos. 99-114)
Suprematist sculptures are of the highest interest in Puni's early work; this was the synthetic art in which he could rightly claim primacy. It is out of the question that Puni couple, in fleeing Petrograd on the Gulf of Finland ice, had seized any of these bulky assemblages. The preface to the section "Sculptures-Reliefs and Objects 1913-1919" of the catalogue raisonné states: "From 1914 to 1917 he made about thirty pictorial reliefs, of which only a fraction is known to us today. The catastrophic winters of 1918 and 1919 forced the artist to sacrifice his reliefs for the sake of heating the studio. But thanks to models and memorable drawings, Puni was able to reconstruct most of the works listed below after his flight from Russia in 1920." The last phrase contains some slyness: the reconstruction was indeed the work of Puni, but only not Ivan, but Xana. And not soon after the emigration, but after the artist's death.
The catalogue describes 18 reliefs, of which only two are declared as completely lost ("Card Players" No. 99 and "Green Board" No. 101, mentioned in newspaper reports during the exhibition "0.10"). The descriptions of the other 16 reliefs leave room for interpretation, and there are falsifications and omissions. For example, let us examine the description of No. 100 Still Life with Hammer. This was the only relief documentarily reconstructed by Puni himself in Berlin in 1921: it is recorded in photographs of his Berlin workshop. A comparison of the photograph of the relief from the Berninger collection, illustrating No. 100 of the catalogue raisonné, with Berlin photographs from 1922 shows that both the hammer and the sheets of cardboard have different configurations. Nevertheless, the description dates the piece to 1914, and the exhibition history begins with the exhibition "Tramway V" (1915), as if this were that original work and not its later replica.
In the other reliefs descriptions from the catalogue raisonné, the figure of default is constructed a little differently. A typical example is No. 102, Suprematist Sculpture. Date: 1915. Collection: "Herman Berninger's family collection (montage based on maquette and drawing)". Provenance: "from the artist". Exhibitions: "0.10" (1915), then as a "montage" at the Sturm Gallery (1921) and onwards beginning from 1960.
That is, the description refers not to the specific object from the collection, but to Puni's work, created in 1915 and then recreated as a "montage". Who and when performed this "montage", i.e. the replica, is not explicitly stated. Note that the most probable year of its production is 1959-1960, and the most probable author of the replica - Xana and her assistants, or generalised as "Pougny's workshop". We also know that at the exhibition at Sturm, this work was present not as a "montage" but as a drawing.
The description of the other reliefs in the catalogue raisonné is built approximately according to the same scenario. Among them there is one that looks so convincing that we want to believe the description, that it is indeed an original relief from 1915, which Xana still somehow managed to get out of Leningrad, having been there in 1959. It is "White Ball" No. 105, which she donated to the National Museum of Modern Art (Paris) in 1966. To dispel doubts and provide clarity, it would be necessary to determine the age of the materials.

Abstract drawings (Nos. 115-150)
Puni's corpus of abstract drawings consists of drafts of illustrations for the third part of Evreinov's Theatre for Myself (1915-1916) and drafts of suprematist sculptures.
The drafts of illustrations for the third part of "Theatre for Myself" come from Costakis collection; today there are 12 of them at the State Tretyakov Gallery. The catalogue raisonné describes 8 of them: nos. 131-132 and 146-150.
The drafts of suprematist sculptures (reliefs) described in the catalogue raisonné were exhibited at the Puni's solo exhibition at the Sturm Gallery in February 1921. Some of them were indeed preparatory studies made at the appropriate time (1915-1916) in Petrograd; but most of these drawings were made just before the exhibition, and they represent memories of works lost in the post-revolutionary chaos or simply new compositions. This is explicitly stated in the preface to the section "abstract drawings 1915-1919" of the catalogue raisonné: "on the occasion of the exhibition at the Sturm Gallery in Berlin in February 1921, Puni reworked some abstract ink drawings or collages, given the poor preservation of the originals from Petrograd." "In the present catalogue, Madame Pougny has re-dated works that were not always executed prior to the respective sculptures, but often served as a reminiscence for the artist, who could not take the sculptures themselves with him"; many of the drawings were lost "due to humidity as a result of poor storage conditions in Paris in 1928". Indeed, of the 52 abstract drawings from the Sturm catalogue, only 29 were subsequently entered by Xana in the catalogue raisonné. Moreover, most of the described abstract drawings must date from 1921 and only a small part from 1915-1916. For more on this see А. Родионов. Иван Пуни в галерее «Штурм» (1921). Состав выставки. // Искусствознание, №4, 2023, с. 244-257.

Figurative drawings (Nos. 151-266)
The figurative drawings are the most reliable section of the catalogue raisonné first volume. Xana did not have to resort to subterfuge when it came to the figurative drawings, for the Puni couple were actually able to fit them into their meagre luggage when they fled Russia. A total of 115 figurative drawings are described in the catalogue raisonné. At the exhibition in the Sturm gallery about 160 such drawings were presented. In the corresponding section of the catalogue raisonné, Xana included 68 of them with a reference to the exhibition; a certain number of drawings from the 1921 exhibition are described in the catalogue raisonné without mentioning it. Thus about half of the drawings exhibited at Sturm were lost due to poor storage and moves in the 20s and 30s. A regrettable loss, for they particularly illustrate Puni's talent.

1914-1919. Examples of drawings by Ivan Puni from the State Russian Museum, not included into the catalogue raisonné

The catalogue raisonné does not cover Puni's drawings from the State Russian Museum (St-Petersburg), which is not surprising. Xana, being in Leningrad in 1959, saw her husband's paintings in the museum, and obviously did not have time for the drawings. After that she did not manage to get to the museum again, and the correspondence for some reason stopped. The Russian Museum holds a total of 34 works on paper by Puni, not counting the sketchbook. 12 of these 34 sheets are decorative banner drafts for the 1918 November holidays.
Figurative drawings from the Costakis collection (12 pcs) were included in the catalogue because the Moscow collector established contact with Xana as early as the late 1950s. Most of them are now preserved in the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow). Among them is the original illustration (No. 206) for the fairy tale "Jeremiah the Lazy Man" published in the collection "Christmas Tree" (1918), where the authorship of the text is attributed to Xana (Chukovsky recalled that Puni did this out of modesty). Puni's other illustrations to his own fairy tales are not included in the catalogue, probably because they have been lost.
Nos. 215-218 of the catalogue, four drawings by Puni for the portfolio "Heroes and Victims of the Revolution" (1918) are described as ink drawings but illustrated by zinc-printed published sheets. It appears that the originals of these drawings have not survived either.
Nos. 259-261 and 264-265 of the catalogue are caricatures, including those of Walden and Archipenko. Puni was sharp both in his tongue and his pencil.

Theatre Costumes (Nos. 267-281)
The preface to this section states that all the theatre studies made by Puni in Russia have been lost. This is not entirely true: the Museum of Theatre and Musical Art (St-Petersburg) has preserved two of Puni's studies from the collection of Zheverzheev (Decorative Institute). We managed to attribute them as set designs for Chukovsky's children's play "Tsar Puzan" (Царь Пузан) staged in the summer of 1917 in the Tenishev Hall. So the catalogue raisonné can be supplemented.

Ivan Puni. 1917. Studies of scenery for Chukovsky's children's play "Tsar Puzan" staged in the summer of 1917 in the Tenishev Hall. Museum of Theatre and Musical Art (St-Petersburg). Inv. Nos. 5199-251 and 5199-252.

Theatre costumes and scenery are a specific kind of art, and Puni had little interest in it. In the preface to this section, the compilers (as usual) recall his ancestors - his grandfather, a ballet composer, and his father, a cellist at the Mariinsky Theatre, who led to Puni's early acquaintance with the theatre. However, Ivan Puni himself, engaged in theatre scenery, did not consider it his life's work. In this respect his words from his letters to Punin (March 1924) are characteristic: "Xana and I have a small contract until autumn, theatrical, we have to do 20 shitty drawings for 1500 francs. We tried to do good drawings at first, but it doesn't fit anywhere, so we started doing shitty drawings. - as long as they take it" and to Shklovsky (25 April 1925): "I have completely stopped hacking, so as not to spoil my hand any more (and this rest from my cursed hackwork has already had a great effect). We live partly from the sale of paintings, which, you understand, can't give much yet, but mainly on Xana's hackwork, who (that's Xana) works really hard."
Nos. 267-271 describe drafts from the 1921 exhibition at the Sturm Gallery. Nos. 272-277 are stated to be drawings made in collaboration with Xana (Nos. 276-277 are signed by her, and they clearly show her artistic style of the early 20s). Nos. 278-281 are probably from those mentioned by Puni in the above passage from his letter to Punin.

Prints (Lithographs and Linocuts, Nos. 282-298)
1) The drawings in the collection "Roaring Parnassus", are described as lithographs, whereas in reality they are reproductions by the zincographic method. Not three (nos. 282-284) but four zincographs after Puni's drawings were printed there, apparently Xana forgot about it. Also forgotten were four lithographic characters from the portfolio "Heroes and Victims of the Revolution" (1918). More on this in the section LITHOGRAPHS.
2) For the article in magazine MA Aktivista Folyóirat, No.3, 1922 five linocuts were printed (see section LINOCUTS) Nos. 286-290. In the catalogue, the first two are called lithographs, despite all the other parameters being the same. It is obvious that Xana misspoke in her preparatory materials, and the publisher transferred this slipup to the final edition and even noted in the preface to the Prints section: "In 1922 the artist produced a series of abstract lithographs and linocuts for the Hungarian avant-garde magazine «Ma Aktivista Folyóirat»".

Other works
The Sovnarkom stamp project (1919) is mentioned in the figurative drawings section (No. 249), but Puni's works for the porcelain factory - drafts and products produced according to them - are not.

1. The second volume of the catalogue fairly accurately represents Pougny's oeuvre from 1924-1956. Nevertheless, it can be supplemented by a number of works that for various reasons escaped the attention of the compilers. We estimate that there are about 150-200 such works.
2. The first volume of the catalogue, in order to meet the requirements for a scientific catalogue raisonné, needs substantial revision. It was compiled using a mixed popular-science approach rather than a strictly scientific one. The result is a hybrid of a catalogue raisonné and an album about the artist's work. Faced with the choice of the main of three sometimes contradictory criteria (accuracy, extensiveness and mercantilism), Xana and Berninger chose the second and tried to reach the third. As a result, accuracy is only present where it does not interfere with higher-priority goals.

As part of our research project, we have digitized the catalogue raisonné and are working to correct and complete it.