Stenberg, Vladimir Avgustovich
Стенберг, Владимир Августович
Born March 23, 1899, Moscow, Russian Empire; died May 1, 1982, Moscow
The Stenberg brothers, Vladimir and Georgii, collaborated on numerous projects from theatre design to commercial advertising to film posters from 1923 until Georgii's death in 1933 when his motorcycle was hit by a truck. Stenberg designs were characterized for their marketing appeal and experimental designs. Stenberg posters, as well as their other design work, often incorporated photography, bold color schemes and groundbreaking typography.
From 1912 to 1917, the Stenberg brothers studied in Moscow at the Stroganov School of Industrial Arts and at SVOMAS, the Free Art Studios, from 1917 to 1920 where they were among the first graduates of the institution. They were members of Inkuk [Institute of Artistic Culture] and Obmokhu [Society of Young Artists]. It was in January 1921 that the Stenberg brothers exhibited outside Obmokhu and the exhibit catalog for the show used the first recorded example of the term "Construtivist" in relation to the exhibit's non-objective forms of artwork.
As pioneers of constructivism and applied arts, Stenberg posters were effectively used as agitprop to inform a burgeoning Soviet revolutionary generation. In 1918, the brothers designed May Day "agit-decorations" in Moscow. In 1925, the Stenberg brothers' designs were exhibited at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris.
Perhaps nowhere more did the Stenberg style flourish than with film posters. The Soviet film industry blossomed along side the October Revolution in Russia. Beginning in the mid-1920s, film posters created by the Stenberg brothers corresponded in style with montage principles used in early Soviet films. Rakish and jutting lines, parallel imagery and close-up photography were noted hallmarks of a Stenberg film poster.
The brothers also created theater sets for Threepenny Opera (1930) at the Moscow Kamernyi Theater, designed interiors for the Moscow Palace of Culture of the Motor Vehicle Plant, a.k.a. ZILPalace of Culture (1930) and, they designed holiday decorations on Red Square from 1928 to 1934.
As an artist in his own right, Vladimir Stenberg designed the decorations for Red Square in 1945 and for events on the Square in 1947 and 1962. He also designed decorations for the All-Union Scientific Research Institute for the Mechanization of Agriculture in Moscow(1967).
Vladimir Stenberg was awarded the USSR Badge of Honor for his achievements in cultural activities. He died in Moscow in 1982.
Sources & Citations
Bowlt, J. E., Petrova, E. N., (2000). Painting revolution: Kandinsky, Malevich and the Russian avant-garde. Bethesda, MD: Foundation for International Arts and Education, Gosudarstvennyi muzeino-vystavochnyi tsentr ROSIZO, St. Petersburg- Moscow.
Dickerman, L. (1996). Building the collective: Soviet graphic design 1917-1937 : selections form the Merrill C. Berman Collection. New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979); Stenberg brothers.