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The Stenberg Brothers in 200 Words

After the Russian revolution in 1917 and the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1922, cinema played an important role in the dissemination of propaganda for the Bolsheviks, thrusting a large number of Russian movies produced during the 1920s and early 1930s as well as an increase in film imports from other countries. Georgii (1900 – 1933) and Vladimir (1899 – 1982) Stenberg — who both studied engineering and then dabbled in theater set and costume design, architecture and sculpture — designed many of the accompanying posters to these movies. Their work was a fusion of Constructivism, Dadaist photomontage, and their unique approach of creating new and original images — more evocative than descriptive — constructed to represent the movie through the use of expressive typography, geometric forms, minimalist illustrations and their distinctive technique of recreating photographs by hand, a result of the limited printing processes that could not reproduce black and white photographs to the desired size of their posters. The Stenberg brothers produced posters together until 1933, when Georgii died in a motorcycle accident. A dubious end as expressed by his brother, who blamed the secret police, as Joseph Stalin had set his standards against Constructivism, and reprimanded artists who abided by it.


This text was originally meant to appear in Graphic Design Referenced but due to changes in scope and approach it was left on the cutting room floor. There is much more to be said and read about the Stenberg brothers, so we recommend the following books:

Stenberg Brothers: Constructing a Revolution in Soviet Design

Stenberg Brothers: Constructing a Revolution in Soviet Design, Abrams 1997

Film Posters of the Russian Avant-Garde

Film Posters of the Russian Avant-Garde by Susan Pack, Benedikt Taschen Verlag 1996

And, of course, we recommend just looking at their work:

Stenberg Brothers

Stenberg Brothers

Stenberg Brothers

Stenberg Brothers

Stenberg Brothers

Stenberg Brothers

Stenberg Brothers

Stenberg Brothers

Stenberg Brothers

Stenberg Brothers

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ARCHIVE ID 5298 FILED UNDER Designer/Design Firm Profile
PUBLISHED ON Oct.01.2008 BY Armin
Michelle French’s comment is:

Can you imagine getting these amazing results with the limits of their printmaking processes? Wow!

Thanks Armin.

On Oct.01.2008 at 12:22 PM
doug’s comment is:

The quality of these prints is such that the use of modern printmaking techniques and computer aids would prove difficult to reproduce. Fine examples of Russian Constructivism. Thank you.

On Oct.01.2008 at 01:29 PM
Jason Weese’s comment is:

I have studied various art movements and among my favorites was Constructivism. I find it interesting and amazing their creation of such graphic and crisp material considering how this art was made in the beginning of the 20th century. It looks so modern for something that is decades old. I am definately inspired. For a Printmaking class I am taking this semester, I find my self less interested in utilizing my own drawing style and more interested in the appropriation of images from pop culture. I understand that is a major source of their material in this movement.
There are a number of different printmaking techniques and to get an outcome like that of Constructivism, I would go first to silk screen (serigraphy). Ofcourse, in a modern context, Photoshop would be the most logical course of action. I however would rather use Photoshop in conjunction with the serigraphy. For example, in a recent project I did, I collaged various images from printouts from the internet, then took a photograph of the collage, and from there was able to control tint and contrast with Photoshop. Then I printed on a transparency and was able to make silk screen prints from that. The problem that I encountered was that my figures from the collage lost a lot of detail. That is what inspires me about the Contstructivism. Color may be able to take up the slack for what the detail of shadow will lose.

On Oct.01.2008 at 01:49 PM
amyfidler’s comment is:

Too bad this was cut!

On Oct.01.2008 at 07:22 PM
Pesky’s comment is:

Brilliant work. One must not forget the Russian emigres who added so much to film, fashion and design elsewhere. Just too many to name!

On Oct.02.2008 at 09:36 AM
Pesky’s comment is:

...and not forgetting great modern classical music..

On Oct.02.2008 at 02:48 PM
Maziar Zand’s comment is:

For me as i am doing some researches in filed of minimalism in graphic design, this point that the minimalism movement starts from Constructivism is important. Actually the marvelous events in early 20s seems can not be repeated.

On Oct.05.2008 at 02:52 PM
Timothy Brunner’s comment is:

What strikes me with these posters is (1) the vibrant use of color which is an interesting contrast in that the films themselves were black and white. And (2) that although they look "photographic" they were hand rendered.

On Oct.06.2008 at 09:42 PM
Rob’s comment is:

Just beautiful and inspiring work. I have always admired the work done in this time period, from Russian Constructivism to Bauhaus. Thank you so much for sharing and I can't wait to buy the books.

On Oct.07.2008 at 10:19 AM