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David Burliuk (Ukrainian/American, 1882-1967)


Also known as:  Burliuk, David Davidovich; David Burlyuk; Burlyuk, David Davidovich

Birth Place: Kharkov (Char'kov oblast, Ukraine)


David Burliuk was a Ukrainian artist whose art spanned a wide gamut of styles and mediums. While known for his book illustrations, novels, and poetry, the art that brought him widespread acclaim and (acceptance by the art community) were his Cubist-inspired paintings. Dubbed “the father of Russian Futurism” Burliuk’s work skirts easy definition, but much of his art can be traced to his adoption of the principal forms of the Futurist Manifesto by Filippo Marinetti in 1913.

Roundly rejected by the art community at the time, Burliuk was expelled from the Moscow School of Painting for his experimental work. Exiled to America, he would go on to create many cubist masterpieces during the 1920s and 1930s that have helped define his legacy. His later years would be spent traveling the globe, holding exhibitions of his work, and releasing books of his sketches and poetry. He was briefly allowed to visit the Soviet Union in 1956 and 1965, an anomaly at the time, but proof positive that Burliuk’s work was finally valued by the art world on both sides of the iron curtain. 

What type of art does David Burliuk create?

David Burliuk was a poet and art critic but was perhaps best known for his avant-garde and post-impressionist paintings. Born in Ukraine, Burliuk was a founding member of many important visual and written art movements including the Futurists and Neo-Primitivists. Though he was roundly rejected by the mainstream art world during most of his early life, his work gained popularity in the mid-20th century thanks to a surge in demand from famous modern art collectors like Onya La Tour. 

How often do David Burliuk paintings come up for auction?

David Burliuk’s paintings often come up for auction, indeed he has an extensive auction record history that dates back to the early 20th century. Though not as famous to the American general public as some of his contemporaries, his extensive catalog, international appeal, plus the accessibility of his catalog make Burliuk extremely popular with collectors the world over. 

How much is a David Burliuk painting worth?

David Burliuk paintings are extremely reasonable at auction, many going for as little as a thousand dollars. That said, Burliuk’s paintings can also fetch up to six figures on the high end, with many outperforming their pre-auction estimates by two or three times the amount predicted. His more major works like Japan and America (1921) fall in the $300,000-$400,000 range. 

Which David Burliuk painting is the most valuable? 

The most valuable David Burliuk painting is IN THE CHURCH (1922) which sold for $668,240 in 2007. It is signed by the artist and has many of his trademark flourishes, stained glass-inspired/ cubist geometric figures, the church, and a muted color palette. It’s easy to see why this painting vastly outperformed its high estimate. Other Burliuk pieces that have performed well at auction are from mainly from his cubist period. 

What are the most famous paintings by David Burliuk? 

As previously stated, much of Burliuk’s best-known work today is from his cubist period. That includes IN THE CHURCH (1922), SPRING (UNKNOWN), and JAPANESE FISHERMAN (1921). It’s not unusual for an artist to have their most famous paintings grouped as such, but it’s especially apparent in Burliuk’s catalog. His cubist period is by far his most in-demand with both collectors and museums.

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