Painter, illustrator and designer. Born in Kuokkala in Finland, not far from St Petersburg. First visited Paris in 1910, studying at the Académie Julian and several other studios. Returned to Russia 1912. Exhibited at the salons of the Union of Youth in St Petersburg 1911-13 with Malevich, Tatlin, Larionov and others; was then working in a style close to Fauvism. In Paris again 1914. Organised in St Petersburg in 1915-16 the exhibitions Tramway V and 0.10 in which Malevich, Tatlin, Popova, Rosanova and others participated; himself contributed Cubist paintings and relief constructions. Co-author and signatory with Malevich of the manifesto of Suprematism 1916. Left Russia in 1919 and went first to Finland, then in 1920 to Berlin. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin, in 1921 and designed sets and costumes for the theatre. Settled 1924 in Paris, where he began to paint interiors and street scenes in a more direct but at first slightly Expressionist style. Signed his pictures in France Jean Pougny. From 1937 painted on small formats, with delicate colours and patchwork patterning of figures and setting. Died in Paris.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.620