Stenberg Brothers – Graphic Designers and Poster Artists
NARAN-HO Design, specialist in web design in and from Marbella, presents the graphic work of the brothers Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg, Russian graphic designers and poster artists, representing the image of Soviet cinema of the 1920s.
Children of Swedish immigrants, both brothers were born in Moscow. Vladimir Stenberg in 1899 and Georgii Stenberg in 1890. They studied Military Engineering and later attended the School of Applied Arts. After their first small exhibitions, they began to be known as “The Stenberg Brothers” and in 1919 they founded the SVOMAS society, designed to design political posters in support of the Bolshevik side.
At this time there was a drastic change in the way graphic designers worked, which was a direct consequence of experimentation in both fine and applied arts. It is here when Constructivism was developed, an artistic trend that is present in the works of the Stenberg brothers.
Constructivism was closely associated with the cinema, since it saw it as a tool for the construction of a new society. He understood that the way of working in the cinema was montage, as a construction of planes and visual elements. This, taken to the poster, was transformed into an idea of movement, of dynamism through the image. The concept of the designer as builder marked a shift within the field, from an essentially illustrative approach to one of assemblage and non-linear narrativity. This new idea of assembling images, mainly photographs, into something new, plus the use of collage, allowed expanding the scope of graphic arts.
In the posters of the Stenberg brothers, illustration and typography weave rhythms with figures, lines and letters, and give off an impression of movement (as in the cinema) through the conjugation of planes, that is, through montage. The Stenberg brothers signed their works as 2Stenberg2. They created the posters for masterpieces of Soviet cinema, such as The Battleship Potemkin, October or The Man with the Camera, as well as posters for foreign films. The Stenberg brothers’ posters are as recognizable as those of Saul Bass or Waldemar Swierzy.
The artistic tandem of the Stenberg brothers ended abruptly. In 1933 Georgii died in an accident. Vladimir continued to work alone, until he was arrested during the Great Purge of 1952. He was released then dedicated himself to restoration. He died in Moscow in 1982.
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I reject the art of senseless beauty, the saccharine art of the aesthete, which weakness the strict discipline of universal culture and slows down development.
When my brother and I were working together, we even made a test. What color should we paint the background? We would do it like this: he would write a note and I would write one. I had no idea what he had written and he didn’t know what I had written. So we would write these notes and then look, and they coincided! You think maybe one was giving in to the other? No. We would make one variant, say, look at it, maybe one of our comrades would come over. We would talk, say something here is very good. And you know, there was no bargaining, nothing.