• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7434

    Photographs

    13 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 49

    ALEXANDER RODCHENKO (1891-1956)

    Assembling for a Demonstration, 1928

    Price Realised  

    ALEXANDER RODCHENKO (1891-1956)
    Assembling for a Demonstration, 1928
    gelatin silver print
    credit stamp, titled in Russian, dated '1935' and variously numbered in an unknown hand in pencil/ink
    11 1/8 x 7½in. (28.2 x 19.1cm.)


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    A subject with a strong social-political content rendered in a dynamic composition, this photo-image by Rodchenko well expresses the multiple constituents of artist's eye, sharp intellect and focused energy that situated him as the defining photographer of Russia's post-revolutionary avant-garde.

    In a Russian street, figures gather for a demonstration. They are seen from above, from a vertiginous angle, on the diagonal, and become elements in a spontaneously, yet most effectively envisioned structure. The photographer's perspective is not that of reportage; he is, rather, representing his subject as a concept as opposed to a purely factual document. Rodchenko has made a Constructivist picture that assumes a broader symbolic dimension and is also, incidentally, filled with enigmatic detail. The dark shapes that splash the street -- shadows and other random forms -- call to mind the ambiguous configurations of another, widely-published image from around this time -- Moholy-Nagy's 1929 view looking down on the Pont Transbordeur in Marseille.

    The present study exemplifies Rodchenko's authority in defining a heroic new language of photographic picture-making.

    Another print of this image is in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Provenance

    With Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco;
    acquired by present owner, c.1988.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM THE THOMAS WALTHER COLLECTION


    Literature

    Quilici (ed.), Rodchenko: The Complete Work, Thames & Hudson, 1986, p.266; Szarkowski, Photography Until Now, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1989, p.210; Lavrentiev, Alexander Rodchenko: Photography 1924-1954, Köneman, 1995, p.112, for a hand-coloured variant, there titled 'Gathering for a Demonstration'.