Vladimir Vladimirovich Maiakovskii (1894-1930) was one of the leading figures of the intellectual avant-garde in the new Soviet state. As a leader of the Russian Futurist movement, and later known as a great proletariat writer of poetry, prose and plays, he was also an accomplished artist and designer. He and Rodchenko first collaborated in 1923 designing advertisements and posters for the developing Soviet industries. In the same year Maiakovskii's poem Pro Eto [For This] was the first published book to use photomontage by Rodchenko. Maiakovskii, disillusioned by the Stalinist control over artistic expression, committed suicide in 1930, and was given a lavish state funeral.
A note by the photographer's grandson Aleksandr Lavrent'ev in Pioneers of Soviet Photography refers to the sitting in Rodchenko's small studio. The photographs were intended for the cover of a collection of Maiakovskii's poems entitled Conversation with the Tax Inspector about Poetry. Photographs of the Rodchenko/Stepanova studio taken in 1989 show this image among paintings and posters on the walls.