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Pulsating crystals

Pavel Filonov was one the greatest Russian artists of the 20th century—so why isn’t he better known?

By Robert Chandler  

Pavel Filonov (Moscow 1883-Leningrad 1941) West and East, 1912- 1913

During a recent week in Florence I made about a dozen visits to an exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi. “The Russian avant-garde, Siberia and the East” makes a case for the influence of shamanistic cult objects on Kandinsky, Goncharova and other 20th century Russian artists. The reason I went so many times, however, was simply that I wanted, again and again, to look at seven paintings by Pavel Filonov (1883-1941), whom I—and many Russians—consider the most remarkable of all the many great…

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