David Burliuk
Russian-American, 1882-1967

In this scene, the East River Generating Station, completed in 1926, dominates the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.  Because of its size and prominence, the power plant plays an important role in the history of the East River waterfront, as well as in the general evolution of power plant architecture in New York City.  The widespread low-scale fabric of the Lower East Side, consisting mostly of tenement buildings, went generally unchanged for most of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century, while the rest of Manhattan was seeing the erection of skyscrapers and other tall buildings. The second half of the twentieth century brought much change to the Lower East Side.
David Burliuk immigrated to America in 1922 and settled in the lower east side. With a high degree of art training in Russia and Europe, his early influences were Fauvism, Cubism and Futurism, all with an emphasis on boldness of color.  In New York he began to focus on a painting style that he termed “Radio Style,” so called in reference to the advent of radio and its ability to make available a variety of cultures.  His paintings blended symbolism, neo-primitivism and expressionism with his love of color, strong texture and spontaneity. Many of these works focus on people living a simple existence in an almost pre-industrial world, achieving a soft quietness despite his use of impasto and vivid color. 

Burliuk's critical acceptance came in 1923 with a major exhibition of his paintings at the Brooklyn Museum and soon thereafter a solo show at the Société Anonyme - the first museum of experimental modern art - established in New York by Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Katherine Dreier.
Burliuk was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1967. His work is in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim, New York; the Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Brooklyn Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Phillips Collection; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg; the Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid; and the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto.

Lower East Side, Manhattan, 1933, oil on board, 9 ½ H. x 12 W. inches
Signed lower right: BURLIUK / 33.

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