The Soviets are attracted by the development of a useful art. A former collaborator of Malevich and an architect by training, El Lissitzky obtains in 1921 a mission of cultural ambassador to the Republic of Weimar. He is close to Moholy-Nagy in Weimar where Gropius has just created the Bauhaus, as well as to the Dada group led in Hannover by Kurt Schwitters and Käte Steinitz.
The photographic technique pleases both the Soviets and the anarchists by its speed of execution. It becomes a specific tool for which the camera is sometimes useless. New works of art are created by placing objects, texts or hands directly on the photosensitive surface. Photomontages use multiple exposures to capture the viewer through the effect of nonsense.
In 1924 Lissitzky shows his self-portrait in a collage including photomontages, titled The Constructor as to support a future architectural program. The eye comes right in the center of the palm of the hand that holds the compass and this transparent set is backed by a sheet of graph paper. The letters XYZ appear in positive and the name of the artist in negative, demonstrating the suitability of this technique to create promotional posters.
In the same year he made several photographic prints of this artwork. The largest known, 25 x 28 cm, was gifted by the artist to Steinitz. It is estimated £ 800K for sale by Christie's in London on March 6, lot 114. A 7.7 x 8.8 cm print was sold for $ 510K including premium by Sotheby's on December 12, 2012.
Made in the same year by Lissitzky, a 10.7 x 9.4 cm photomontage showing a double portrait of Schwitters with the inscription MERZ was sold for $ 250K including premium by Christie's on February 14, 2007 over a lower estimate of $ 6K.
SOLD for £ 950K including premium