(Vitebsk, 1902 – Leningrad, 1973)
Anna A. Kogan was born Hannah Abelevna Natanson in Vitebsk, Russia. She became a pupil of Malevich from 1919 to 1922, studied at the Art School in Vitebsk and was a member of Unovis. Kogan participated in the exhibitions of this group in Vitebsk (1920 and 1921) and Moscow (1920, 1921 and 1922), and subsequently in Petrograd (1923).
In Petrograd, at the exhibition “Artists of All Persuasions: 1918-1923,” works by the Unovis Group were highlighted. Malevich wanted to implement Larionov’s idea for an exhibition of anonymous art. (Larionov had planned such an exhibit in 1913, which he called “The Target” but due to censorship problems, never carried out his intention.) The exhibition featured works by Malevich and those executed by his followers, such as Kogan, and were hung without signatures or labels. The viewer was to look at the art for its singular value, without the encumbrance of artists’ personalities. Hence, most paintings of the period are not signed at all, or are signed or initialed on the back of the work. One of Kogan’s paintings, entitled “White Suprematism”, was the focal point of the show. After the masterpieces of Malevich, Kogan’s works were the most representative of the movement.
In 1925, Kogan together with the sculptor, V. Pavlov, helped Malevich with the construction of three-dimensional models called Architectons at the Museum of Artistic Culture in Leningrad. Unlike many of Malevich’s students, who returned to a more traditional way of painting with the Social Realist movement, Kogan continued in non-objective art. Her later, mature style has now been termed, “Neo-Suprematism”. Between 1928 and 1930, Kogan painted prolifically creating a large body of work noteworthy for its organic feeling and monumentality. In these works the artist transformed suprematist abstraction into a new architectonic system of abstract painting.
In 1926, she showed at the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin, and at the “Staatlichen Institut für Kunstlerische Kultur” in Leningrad. She later worked as a graphic designer and in the late 1960s many of her works were re-evaluated and placed in collections in Leningrad and Moscow. This effort was propelled especially by the artist’s life-long friend, Anna Leporskaya.
Nakov, Andre; Malevich Escrits, Paris, 1986 (though the name is incorrectly written as K. Kogan), pp. 318 and 413.
Anderson, T.; Malevich, Amsterdam, 1970.
Shadowa, Larisssa; Suche und Experiment, Dresden, 1978.
K. Malewitsch; Werke aus Sowjetischen Sammlungen, Düsseldorf, 1980
N.B. Frequently spelled as Kagan. This could be attributed, in part, to the blurred
pronounciation of the name in Russian.
Not to be confused with Nina Osipovna Kogan (1887-1942), a teacher at Unovis.