Aleksandr Rodchenko (1891 – 1956) was a commercial as well as a fine artist.  He was a proponent of the Russian constructivist art movement. The term ” constructivism” came about because the artists claimed they riveted the images together as engineers, not artists.  In the early years of the Russian revolution, he worked with utopian idealism to eliminate the separation between art and daily life.  

Ironically, the Soviet Unions reputation for repression overshadows that it was a “thrilling and open place for design and poster artists during the decades the first decades of its existence, a period that has been called the most important in Graphic Design”.

He believed that new ideologies demanded new artistic forms.  He focused his work on the physical qualities of the painting, and he used different paints and textures.


Rodchenko was born in 1891. He is a rare example of an artist who was able to work in a variety of different disciplines.  He was a painter, sculptor, designer and photographer. His early works were two-dimensional geometric abstracts before he advanced to three-dimensional constructions.  He painted in the avant-garde style and eventually stripped his work down to no colour or pure colour.  In 1921 he declared painting was at a dead end, and he explored other art forms.

Aleksandr Rodchenko 1920

From that period, he explored photography with striking images taken from unusual perspectives and oblique angles, bold graphic works, collages, posters, advertisements and design for theatre and films.


The Soviet hierarchy, starting with Lenin himself, believed in posters as an essential means to transform the unruly working class into a disciplined political unit.

Books (The advertisement for the Lengiz Publishing House) (1924)
CCCP Early Aeronautics and Aviation
Battleship Potemkin
Battleship Potemkin


Morning Exercises 1932
Sportsman on the Red Square 1935
Sportsman on the Red Square 1935

When he asserted that painting was dead, ” I reduced painting to its logical conclusion and exhibited three canvases: red, blue, and yellow.  I affirmed: it’s all over.

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