Collection inventory

Special Collections home page
printer friendly version

David Burliuk Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Burliuk, David, 1882-1967.
Title: David Burliuk Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1900-1969
Quantity: 4.75 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the painter, author. Correspondence, diaries, memorabilia, photographs, and scrapbooks; in English and Russian.
Language: English, Russian
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

David Davidovich Burliuk (1882-1967) was a Russian-American painter and author. Born on July 27, 1882 in Tambov, Russia, the eldest son of a wealthy peasant, he received a fine education at several gymnasiums where he advanced quickly, mastering most subjects with ease. His subsequent enrollment in the art school at Kazan proved to be the beginning of a long, distinguished career as a painter.

The turn of the century found young Burliuk amid the swirl of radical politics and the avant garde art movements which characterized Moscow in the last years of the Romanov dynasty. In 1907 he became a member of the famous Moscow Literary Circle and the Moscow Art Circle of Free Aesthetics where he met his life-long friend the poet Mayakovsky. During this period he traveled widely, lecturing on the aesthetic theories and goals of the Futurist style, thereby becoming the chief exponent of modern art in Russia. While vacationing in Odessa, Burliuk received a visit from Vasili Kandinsky, who was then organizing the first Blaue Reiter exhibition. From this visit, Burliuk developed a close association with the Blaue Reiter group with whom he exhibited. He also contributed an article, "The Wild Russian," to the group's first book.

With the outbreak of civil war in the fall of 1917, Burliuk and his wife, Marussia, fled first to Siberia, then to Japan and finally in 1922 to the United States. In 1923 he showed a number of paintings in a large exhibition held at the Brooklyn Museum, and in 1924 the Société Anonyme, of which he was a member, gave him his first one man show in America.

Though Burliuk's fellow artists recognized his ability, the public, with the exception of a few generous patrons, was slow to buy his paintings. Marussia supplemented the family's income by sewing and by 1930 was able to save enough to begin publishing an art quarterly, Color and Rhyme. During the years before World War II Burliuk continued to paint and exhibit widely. He also received many visitors at his home including Marcel Duchamp, Sergei Prokofiev, and Eisenstein, the director of the Russian film classic Potemkin. After the war the Burliuks traveled in Mexico and Europe, and in 1956 they returned for a visit to the Soviet Union. David Burliuk, who called himself "the last of the Blue Riders," continued to paint and exhibit until his death in 1967.

Return to top

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The David Burliuk Papers are divided into Correspondence, Memorabilia, Writings, and Miscellaneous. At least half of these materials are written in Russian and have not been translated.

The Correspondence dates from 1900 to 1967. Most of these are to Burliuk from directors of art galleries, private collectors, friends, family, and fellow artists. One item of special interest is a letter from the American novelist Henry Miller.

Memorabilia, 1915-1966, includes several scrapbooks of clippings from Russian language newspapers, genealogical data on the Burliuk family, and a number of exhibition catalogues.

Writings, dating from 1928 to 1967, consists of books, articles, and poems in various stages of draft. There are also several diaries maintained by Burliuk, and many issues of the Burliuks' magazine, Color and Rhyme. Writings by others contain information on various aspects of David Burliuk's art, the Blaue Reiter group, and particularly the development of modern Russian art.

The majority of materials in the Miscellaneous section are either of minor interest or are unidentifiable as belonging to another group. The folder of financial records, however, is interesting as a limited source of information on the purchases and sales connected with Burliuk's career as an artist.

Return to top

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence written in English, and those few in Russian with transliterated signatures, are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the sender. The remainder of the items in Russian are organized chronologically. Memorabilia is subdivided by subject or form and arranged alphabetically. Writings are divided by author, arranged alphabetically, then subdivided by form.

Return to top


Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Return to top

Subject Headings


Burliuk, David, 1882-1967 -- Archives.
Burliuk, Marussia.
Miller, Henry, 1891-1980.
Parker, Dorothy, 1893-1967.

Corporate Bodies

Blaue Reiter.

Associated Titles

Color and rhyme.


Art, Modern -- 20th century.
Artists -- United States.
Painters -- United States.
Painting, Modern -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Exhibition catalogs.



Return to top

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

David Burliuk Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of David and Marussia Burliuk, 1964-1967.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: --
Date: ca. 1970?
Revision history: 7 Apr 2008 - converted to EAD (MRC); 21 Nov 2022 - added note about Color & Rhyme, Box 9, sent to cataloging (MRC)

Return to top


English and Russian
Box 1 Unidentified 1937-1966
Box 1 Aki - Ave 1939-1967
Box 1 Bal - But 1939-1967
Burliuk Family
Box 1 Miscellaneous 1948-1966
Box 1 David D. 1942-1967
Box 1 Marussia ca. 1955-1965
Box 1 Nicholas 1944-1953 (2 folders)
Box 1 Cha - Cul 1941-1966
Box 1 Dal - Fre 1942-1965
Box 1 Gab - Gul 1942-1966
Box 1 Hab - Hil 1937-1964
Box 1 Igo - Jun 1956-1967
Box 1 Jaffee, Ella and Sidney 1960-1963
Box 1 Kai - Kru 1936-1965
Box 1 Koslow, Albert 1946-1956
Box 1 Lac - Lyz 1937-1967
Box 2 Mar - Mus 1960-1967
Box 2 Miller, Henry 1954
Box 2 Nah - Odo 1947-1967
Box 2 Par - Rya 1948-1967
Box 2 Opalov, Leonard 1944-1967
Box 2 Parker, Dorothy 1947
Box 2 Sal - Str 1938-1967
Box 2 Strauser, Dorothy and Sidney 1960-1963
Box 2 Teu - Zei 1948-1966
Box 2 Undated
Box 2 Fragments
Box 2 1900-1955 (6 folders)
Box 3 1956-1967 (10 folders)
Art works
Exhibition Catalogues
Box 4 Miscellaneous artists
Box 4 Undated
Box 4 1920-1945
Box 4 1950-1959
Box 4 1960-1969
Box 4 1930-1964 (Russian)
Box 4 Exhibitions 1948-1963
Box 4 Invitations and announcements ca. 1947-1967
Box 4 Reproductions of paintings
Box 4 Miscellaneous
Box 4 Obituary, holo.
Published Material
Box 4 Burliuk, Katherine Dreier, Société Anonyme, New York, 1944 (Vol. 1)
Box 5 English
Box 5 Russian
Box 5 Miscellaneous
Box 5 Miscellaneous
Box 5 Burliuk Family and others 1925-1966
Scrapbooks (Russian)
Box 5 (Vol. 2)
Box 5 (Vol. 3) ca. 1915-1923
Box 5 (Vol. 4) ca. 1929
Box 5 (Vol. 5) 1926-1933
Box 6 (Vol. 6) 1931
Box 6 (Vols. 7-8) 1932-1934
Box 6 Unbound (2 folders)
Box 6 English
Box 6 Russian
Box 6 Books, pr. mat.
Box 6 On Russian Futurism
Box 6 Verse
Burliuk, David
Box 6 "Japan in Retrospect", holo.
Box 6 "Memoirs of Fedor Schlapin," holo.
Box 6 On the Novels of Mayakovsky
Box 6 "Russian Writers and World Literature"
Books (Russian)
Box 6 Galley proof
Drafts, holo.
Box 7 pp. 1-80
Box 7 pp. 16-100
Box 7 pp. 1-280 (4 folders)
Diaries (Russian)
Box 7 Fragments 1931
Box 7 (Vol. 9) 1931
Box 8 (Vol. 10) 1934
Box 8 (Vol. 11) ca. 1962
Box 8 Journals
Box 8 Notebooks
Press Releases
Box 8 "We Greet Russia Wholeheartedly"
Box 8 Undated
Box 8 1912-1928
Burliuk, David Jr.
Box 8 ca. 1944 (4 folders)
Box 8 1947
Burliuk, Marussia
Box 8 Galley fragments
Box 8 Galley proofs
Box 8 Draft A (3 folders)
Box 8 Draft B (Russian)
Box 8 Diary notes, holo
Color and Rhyme
Box 9 Miscellaneous
English 1958-1963
These items have been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging. Please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate these items.
Box 9 Russian and English (Vol. 11) 1928-1960
Box 9 Russian 1963-1966 (3 folders)
Burliuk, Nicholas
Box 9 Articles
Opalov, Leonard
Box 9 Holo.
Box 10 Cartoons and Sketches
Box 10 Ephemera
Box 10 Financial Records 1948-1966
Box 10 Lists (Russian)
Box 10 Postcards and Reproductions
Box 10 Printed Matter
Box 10 Published Material (English and Russian) 1922-1964
Box 10 Report card of Nicholas Burliuk

Return to top