El Lissitzky was a Russian born artist, designer, typographer, photographer and architect who designed many exhibitions and propaganda for the Soviet Union in the early 20th century. His development of the ideas behind the Suprematist art movement were very influential in the development of the Bauhaus and the Constructivist art movements. His stylistic characteristics and experimentation with production techniques developed in the 1920s and 30s have been an influence on graphic designers since.
Perhaps his most famous work was the 1919 propaganda poster "Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge".
In his early years he developed a style of painting in which he used abstract geometric shapes, which he referred to as "prouns", to define the spatial relationships of his compositions. The shapes were developed in a 3-dimensional space, that often contained varying perspectives, which was a direct contrast to the ideas of suprematist theories which stressed the simplification of shapes and the use of 2D space only.
He moved around in the 1920s and spent time in both Germany as a cultural representative of Russia and, after he was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis, Switzerland in a Swiss sanatorium. But this never stopped him from working as he continued to produce propaganda posters, books, buildings and exhibitions for the Soviet Union. in 1932 Stalin demanded that artists conform to much stricter guidelines or be blacklisted, Lissitzky managed to retain his position as head of exhibitions. In 1941 his tuberculosis overcame him and caused his death.
The exact source of the word "proun" has never been determined, but Lissitzky referred to them ambiguously as "the station where one changes from painting to architecture."