Lot 645: Two Encounters. 1932
30 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: Artist: STENBERG BROTHERS (Vladimir, 1899-1982; Georgi, 1900-1933) Size: 41 1/8 x 55 1/4 in./104.4 x 140.3 cm This maquette was previously exhibited as part of the Museum of Modern Art's 1997 exhibition, "Stenberg Brothers: Constructing a Revolution in Soviet Design. The Stenbergs achieved great renown as Constructivist sculptors, designers, architects and draftsmen in the early Leninist / Stalinist USSR. "Their most significant accomplishment, however, according to Christopher Mount in MoMA's exhibition catalogue, "was in the field of graphic design, specifically the advertising posters they created for the newly burgeoning cinema in Soviet Russia. The Stenbergs used the technique of photo montage, but with a twist: "The final image from which the poster was reproduced was not composed of photographic images but drawings after photographs a neat subversion of photomontage that simulates the magical realism' of photography (p. 11, 15). This maquette is composed of color lithographs, with gouache and photographic inserts. Possibly in the process of restoration, the signature is in Roman type. One of the most interesting aspects of this maquette is that the tiny pocket watch seen lower left isn't just part of the lithograph, but is actually a vintage photograph pasted in. The Stenbergs often relied upon large, close-up facial images which conveyed both plot and emotional tenor and this maquette, with its haunting eyes and the split face, reveals much of the tension in the film. Two Encounters follows the story of a Russian Bolshevik general who is sent to recuperate in the countryside after falling ill. When he arrives there, he runs into his old friend, Begur, who invites him to stay at his home. The General is shocked to recognize the real identity of Begur's wife as the spouse of a former White Army leader but he dies of a heart attack before he can expose her as a spy. Begur, however, discovers his old friend's diary; the film ends with his wife being turned over to the police. While the film certainly exists, it is unclear if this maquette was ever made into a poster, as no surviving copies remain. (film, russian)
Condition Report: Mixed media maquette. Framed.
Dimensions: 41 1/8 x 55 1/4 in./104.4 x 140.3 cm
Artist or Maker: STENBERG BROTHERS (Vladimir, 1899-1982; Georgi, 1900-1933)