Pushkin Square, 1932
gelatin silver print
stamped photographer's credit in ink (verso)
image/sheet: 1134 x 912 in. (29.8 x 24.1 cm.)
Acquired by a private collector, 1990s.
Margarita Tupitsyn, Alexander Rodtschenko: das neue Moskau: Fotografien aus der Sammlung L. and G. Tatunz, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Hanover, 1998, p.36.
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Lot Essay

A leading figure in the Constructivist movement that emerged in Russia after the 1917 October Revolution, Aleksandr Rodchenko played a significant role in expanding the possibilities of photography as an artistic medium. From an aspiring artist in a small city of Kazan, whose main knowledge of art came from magazines, Rodchenko became one of the most prominent members of avant-garde as a result of his boundless determination to experiment. The present lot, Pushkin Square, is shot from an odd, high angle that he often used to photograph his subjects, creating a shocking effect on viewers at first and then inviting them to examine the picture further.

Not only prominent for its dynamic composition that captures the spirit of the Soviet era, this photograph also serves as a significant historical record of the iconography used by the government. For example It records a stand with posters by Rodchenko’s constructivist colleague Gustav Klutsis and at the same time captures 17th century Strastnoy women’s monastery before it was demolished in 1937 thus creating a powerful dichotomy between the old and the new.

The change in the political climate of the Soviet Union took a toll on the artistic freedom of Rodchenko. Nevertheless, his contributions to art and design continue to be celebrated to this day. His legacy has left a lasting mark on various artistic disciplines, and his works continue to be studied and admired by artists, designers, and art enthusiasts around the world. (Dabrowski, Magdalena, Leah Dickerman, Peter Galassi, A. N. Lavrentʹev, and V. A. Rodchenko. Aleksandr Rodchenko.)

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