I narrated this photo as follows before the previous sales.
Constructivism, in parallel to Malevich's Suprematism, is a Soviet variant of Futurism. Its target is to create new art and poetry by eliminating spontaneity and emotion for superseding the bourgeois art.
The pioneer of constructivism, Alexander Rodchenko, reached the end of his process in 1921 with his first monochrome paintings. He immediately gave up painting for photography. In a similar approach as the Bauhaus, he became interested in collages which he used to illustrate the poems by Mayakovsky.
Rodchenko was a contemporary of Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray. Leaving photomontage for photography proper around 1925, he looked for a formalism in architecture and in the scenery of modern life, with extreme angles of view that remove the reference to horizontal and vertical planes.
Taken in 1929, the steps of a staircase in Moscow bring the best photographic demonstration of Rodchenko's constructivism. The lighting is strong, offering no intermediate between light and shadow with the consequence of removing unnecessary details. In the center of the image, a woman climbs the stairs with a baby in her arms. The copy for sale is an exhibition print 38 x 57 cm dated 1935 by the artist's daughter.
Rodchenko's steps are photographed four years after the more famous staircase of Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin. The similar scenery can hardly be a coincidence but the contrast of the action is total between the peaceful movement of Rodchenko's figure with child which is a symbol of life and the terrible fall of the push-chair, a symbol of child's death.
Rodchenko also seconded the documentarist director and theorist Dziga Vertov, rejecting both narrative and show.
The tweet below has been issued by Phillips before the 2015 sale.
SOLD for $ 280K including premium