Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Stenberg brothers posters - part 1

The Stenberg brothers (Vladimir 1899 - 19882 and Georgii 1900 - 1933) were both born in Moscow of a Swedish father and Russian mother, but remained Swedish citizens until 1933. They first studied engineering, then attended the Stroganov School of Applied Arts in Moscow between 1912 - 1917, and subsequently the Moscow Svomas (free studios), where they and other students designed decorations for the first Mayday celebration in 1918.

In 1919, the Stenbergs and comrades founded the OBMOKhU (Society of Young Artists) and participated in its first group exhibition in Moscow in May 1919 and the exhibitions of 1920, 1921 and 1923. The brothers and Konstantin Medunetskii staged their own "Constructivists" exhibition in January 1922 at the Poet's Café, Moscow, accompanied by a Constructivist manifesto. Also that year, Vladimir showed his work in the landmark Erst Russiche Kunstausstellung (First Russian Art Exhibition) held in Berlin. 

During the 1920s and 30s they were well established as members of the avant-garde in Moscow, and of Moscow's INKhUK (Institute of Artistic Culture). The Stenbergs practiced in a range of media, initially active as Constructivist sculptors, subsequently as theatre designers, architects, and draughtsmen. Their design work covered evrything from clothing, including women's shoes, to railway carriages. Some examples of their sculpture were spidery and spindly structures, such as the reconstruction (1973-74) of KPS 11: Construction of a Spatial Apparatus no. 11 (1919-20) in steel, glass, paint and plaster on wood, now in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

Georgii Augustovich Stenberg KPS 11 - Construction of a Spatial Apparatus no. 11 

KPS XIII, 1919-78
steel and wood on pedestal

However, the arenas in which they excelled were theatre costume and graphic design, particularly the graphic design of film posters, encouraged by the surging in movies in Russia and the government's sanctioning of graphic design and the cinema.

Georgii Augustovich Stenberg 
costume design for "Day and Night"

Georgii Avgustovich Stenberg 
costume for "The Beggar's Opera"

The brothers were at their prime during the revolutionary period of politics and artistic experimentation in Russia, centred in Moscow. In the visual language of the constructor of Constructivist, the Stenbergs and other designers and artists made assemblages.

The innovative visual aspects of the Stenberg posters included a distortion of perspective, elements from Dada photo-montage, and an exaggerated scale, a sense of movement, and a dynamic use of colour and typography - eventually all were to be imitated by others. The Stenberg artwork was frequently based on stills from the films. Radical even today, the posters by the brothers working together were realised within a nine-year period from 1924 to 1933, the year Geogii died at age 33 in a motorcycle accident. Vladimir continued to work on film posters and organised the decorations of Moscow's Red Square for the Mayday celebrations of 1947.

Biographical notes on the Stenberg brothers adapted from Wikipedia

This is part 1 of a 2-part post on the works of the Stenberg brothers:

1920 Sketch for what is probably Victor Sjöström’s "Karin Ingmarsdotter"

1921 Idol of the Public / A Small Town Idol 
( directed by Erle C. Kenton, Mack Sennett )

1921 The Punch 
directed by Charles Ray )

A very similar later design:

Burden of Marriage

1922 Dr. Jack 
directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor )

1923  Sketch for "The Eyes of Love"

1924 The Eyes of Love

1923 Moscow Chamber Theatre

1924 The Yankee Consul 
directed by James W. Horne )

1925 Battleship Potemkin 
directed by Sergei Eisenstein )

1926 A Screw from Another Machine 
directed by Talanov )

1926 Battling Orioles 
directed by Ted Wilde )

1926 Countess Shirvanskaya's Crime 
directed by Ivan Perestiani )

1926 Katka, the Paper Reinette 
directed by Eduard Johanson and Friedrich Ermler )

1926 Miss Mend ( 1 )
directed by Borus Barnet and Fydor Otsep ) 

1926 Miss Mend ( 2] )
directed by Borus Barnet and Fydor Otsep ) 

1926 The Pounded Cutlet 
directed by Snub Pollard )

1926 The Traitor 
directed by Abram Room )

1926 Which of the Two /or Manhunt 
directed by Nunzio Malasomma )

1927 A Commonplace Story 
directed by Fyodor Otsep )

1927 A Woman of Paris 
directed by Charlie Chaplin )

1927 Daddy's Boy 
(directed by Harry Edwards )

1927 High Society Wager /or The Weather Station 
directed by Carl Foelich 1923 )

1927 Little Lord Fauntleroy 
directed by Alfred E. Green and Jack Pickford )

1927 October 
directed by Sergei Eisenstein ) 

1927 Six Girls Seeking Shelter 
directed by Hans Behrendt )

1927 Symphony of a Great City 
directed by Walter Ruttmann )

1927 The Girl with the Hat Box
( directed by Boris Barnet )

1927 The Shooting of Dan McGrew 
( directed by Milord McGrew )

1927 The Sneaky Operators /or Danger Ahead 
directed by Willam Howard )

1927 The Street Merchant's Deed 
directed by Oscar Apfel )

1928 A Real Gentleman 
directed by Clyde Bruckman )

1928 Cement 
directed by Vladimir B. Vilner )

1928 Gossip 
directed by Ivan Perestiani )

1928 Mospolygraph Pencils

1928 Shanghai Document 
directed by Yakov Bliokh )

1 comment:

  1. This has been a wonderful, monumental series which I have hugely enjoyed and showed high-quality art work throughout and ended on a particularly high note. I love the Art Nouveau influence of the first paintings here. Thank you so much for your efforts.
    I really enjoy the art of Cezanne and can't wait till you produce that series; you could do one on Mont St Victoire alone!
    Cezanne has featured in my Painting of the Month series at least three times and will do again. Your Blog is an indispensable resource for me.
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’