Born Moscow, 1888; died Moscow, 1945

The son of a merchant, Osip Maksimovich Brik trained as a lawyer but came to prominence as a theorist of avant-garde literature and art. In 1912 he married Lily Kagan. In 1915, while he was on military duty in Petrograd, the young couple met Vladimir Maiakovskii, who became Lily’s lover and joined the Brik household in 1918. He was also active in the Society for the Study of Poetic Language, the cradle of the formalist movement. After a sojourn in Berlin in late 1922, Brik helped found LEF, the journal of group Left Front of the Arts, which was renamed Novyi LEF in 1927. In 1926 he was appointed head of the literary section of the Mezhrabpom-Rus fil’m studio. As formalism and leftist art fell into official disfavor, Brik adapted and became a prominent writer and critic in the Socialist Realist tradition, joining the Writers’ Union in 1934. Brik was one of the first writers to join the TASS studio collective and served for a time as its main literary editor.

Petr Ashotovich Sarkisian and Osip Maksimovich Brik. The Hapless Warrior, January 23, 1944. Ne boltai! Collection.

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