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Sen'kin, (Senkin) Sergei Iakovlevich

Сенькин, Сергей Яковлевич

Born 1894, Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo (Moscow), Russian Empire; died 1963, Moscow, USSR

Sergei Iakovlevich Sen'kin worked as a painter and graphic designer from the early 1920s until the end of his life. Sen'kin began as a student at MUZhVS (Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture) just as Russia entered the First World War. His studies were interrupted when he served in the army until 1918. Following the war, Sen'kin again took-up his education and enrolled in SVOMAS (Free State Art Studios) where he met Gustav Klutsis. His friendship with Klutsis would lead to their collaboration in design projects later on. In 1920, Sen'kin went on to study at VKHUTEMAS (Higher Art and Technical Studios) in Moscow and in 1921 he held his first solo exhibition in that city.

In addition to contributing book and magazine illustrations during the 1920s, Sen'kin (along with Klutsis) designed a portion of the "Central Institute of Labor" exhibit at the 1923 All-Russian Agricultural and Industrial Crafts Exhibition in Moscow. In 1928, the pair designed photomontage murals for the interior of the Soviet pavilion at the International Press Exhibition (“Pressa”) in Cologne, Germany. Sen'kin and Klutsis went on to co-design a number of political posters using the photomontage technique. Working together or singularly, both artists helped advance the scale and importance of Soviet-born graphic design. Sen'kin blossomed into an important designer during the 1930s. In this era he also collaborated with the poster artist Dmitrii Moor. In 1933, Sen'kin was one of the featured artists in the Moscow exhibit “Fifteen Years of Artists of the RSFSR” and in 1939, he contributed to the design of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (in Moscow) in addition to designing the Soviet pavilion for the New York World’s Fair.

Sources & Citations

Groys, B., Hollein, M. (2003). Dream factory Communism: The visual culture of the Stalin era. Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz. (bio)
Rosenfeld, A. (1999). Defining Russian graphic arts: From Diaghilev to Stalin, 1898-1934. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. (bio)
Dickerman, L. (1996). Building the collective: Soviet graphic design 1917-1937: selections form the Merrill C. Berman Collection. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. (bio)
Jobling, P., & Crowley, D. (1996). Graphic design: Reproduction and representation since 1800. Manchester: Manchester University Press. (p. 137, Senkin as an interior designer for Soviet Pavilion at Pressa in Cologne)
Tupitsyn, M. (1995). Glaube, Hoffnung, Anpassung: Sowjetische Bilder, 1928-1945. Oberhausen: Plitt Verlag. (bio)