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97/242/1 Journal, 'Wendingen', Issue No.11 1921, lithograph cover designed by El Lissitzky, Russia, issue devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright written by Dr H. P. Berlage, typography by H. Th. Wijdeveld, Amsterdam, Holland, 1921. Click to enlarge.

‘Wendingen’ journal cover by El Lissitzky,

Made by Lissitzky, Lazar Markovich (El) in Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands, Europe, 1930-1931.

One of the great avant-garde figures of the early 20th century, El Lissitzky was Russia’s most important artist-designer to influence Modernism. A Constructivist artist seeking to create an art of order, he devised a series of compositions of geometric forms which he used in his ground-breaking graphic design and typography. The Powerhouse Museum holds two examples of his work - a rare stoneware ceramic plate designed while Lissitsky lived in Germany around 1923 (2003/137/1) and made in Germany ...

Summary

Object No.

97/242/1

Object Statement

Journal, 'Wendingen', Issue No.11 1921, lithograph cover designed by El Lissitzky, Russia, issue devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright written by Dr H. P. Berlage, typography by H. Th. Wijdeveld, Amsterdam, Holland, 1921

Physical Description

Journal titled 'Wendingen' (translates as 'Turning', or possibly 'Transition', or even 'Upheaval'), issue No.11 1921, wrap around cover, lithograph on paper depicting geometric 'Proun' design in red, black, grey and white with journal title 'Wendingen' lettered obliquely across top left (slightly ovoid), the work designed by El Lissitzky in Russia, signed 'EL' lower right, the issue devoted to the work of the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, written by Dr H. P. Berlage (Dutch architect), the inside magazine typography by H. Th. Wijdeveld, Amsterdam; the article featuring rendered drawings and photographs of various Lloyd Wright projects eg the Imperial Hotel Tokyo and Olive Hill residence, Los Angeles and printed on double folded pages; the issue bound with fine string through six holes punched through the spine.

Marks

Cover is initialled by designer on front, bottom right corner.
Information printed on front page gives details (in Dutch) of publication, 'The Amsterdam Group', subscriptions and contributions. Includes 'TYPOGRAF. VERZORGING / DOOR H. TH WIJDEVELD' [typograpghy. lay-out by ...]. Also signed in ink in lower right corner of page, 'KEEJ. V.D. WILL'.

Dimensions

Height

327 mm

Width

332 mm

Depth

50 mm

Production

Notes

H. T. Wijdeveld (1885-1989) Dutch architect, writer, furniture designer, typographer and teacher.

El Lissitzky (born Lazar M Lissitzky, Smolensk province 1890: died Moscow 1941). Jewish. Russian architect, designer, draughtsman, illustrator, painter, photographer, printmaker, teacher and theorist.

Innovative in his use of photography, experimenting with 'cameraless images' (photograms), superimposition, photomontage and photocollage. Innovatively contributed his knowledge of engineering, architectural and graphic skills to his work (including axiometric drawing, which he used in a deliberately contradictory and inconsistent way to imply construction within the floating pictorial space that the Russian Suprematist Malevich had evolved). Through the teachings of Moholy-Nagy, Lissitzky exercised a radical influence at the Bauhaus. His architectural ideas were published in "Russland: Die Rekonstruktion der Architektur in der Sowjetunion' in 1930 (Eng translations London and Cambridge, MA 1970). Most significantly, his work provided no clear frontier between art and design.

1890-1918: Study and early graphic work
1917: Lissitzky involved in early Soviet attempts to formulate an art appropropriate to Communism. Involved in both the February and October revolutions. Became a member of the cultural department of the Moscow Soviet and later the Fine Arts Department of 'Narkompros'.
1919-1921: Became Professor of Graphic art and architecture at the newly reorganized People's School of Art in Vitebsk, Kiev (founded by Marc Chagall) through his involvement in Jewish culture. At Vitebsk, Lissitzky learnt about Suprematism in person from Malevich which transformed his attitudes and designs permanently. He immediately became committed to adapting Suprematist visual language into a politically committed means of communication and inventively incorporated language and geometric forms which suggested three-dimensional geometric objects to Suprematist ideas of geometry.
In 1919 Lissitsky coined the new word 'proun' to signify this innovative form of creative work where the existence of three-dimensional geometric objects could be implied within the framework of a Suprematist picture space thus suggesting construction. He extended the vocabulary of Suprematism so that the triangles, trapezia and circles of Malevic took on depth, solidity and textures suggestive of various materials. (Lissitzky's cover design for the 'Wendingen' magazine exemplifies Lissitzy's 'proun' form of creative work where the work illustrated is part painterly, part architectural and part graphic and capable of application in any of these fields of activity.)
1921-1941: Moved to Moscow in 1921. Became Professor of Architecture at Vkhutemas School of Art (coinciding with the emergence of Constructivism). Lissitzky's position was similar to but distinct from the Constructivists who sought to define creative activity in material and mathematical terms, replacing intuitive self expression with conscious experimental investigation designed ultimately to reorganize society along materialistic and Communistic lines (In 1921 they renounced easel painting in favour of politically committed or directly utilitarian design). While Lissitzky became a prolific designer of diverse projects and his output was increasingly public in concept, he differed in that he also made an astonishing number of contacts with Western artists in an attempt to establish an international network of compatible creative talents. During his travels he met and collaborated with Hans Arp, Kurt Schwitters, Man Ray, Hans Arp (Published with Hans Arp (Ed): 'Die Kunstismen' Zurich 1925 ('The Isms of Art' New York 1968/'Baden1990.)) and J.J.P. Oud, Gerrit Rietveld, Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg from the De Stijl group.
After 1926 Lissitzky became increasingly engaged in international trade exhibitions promoting a positive image of Soviet achievements.
References: The Dictionary of Art' Ed. Jane Turner, 1996; Larouse Encyclopedia of Modern Art, 1974; 'De Stijl 1917-1931' Carsten-Peter Warncke, Taschen 1991; 'El Lissitsky: Life.Letters.Texts' Sophie Lissitzky-Kuppers, Thames & Hudson, 1980.

'Wendingen' (1918-1931) was the periodical of the Amsterdam School (a group of Expressionist artists and craftsworkers active mainly in Amsterdam 1915-c1930). Magazine published in The Netherlands

Issue No 11,1921 (Identified as 1922 in 'Dictionary of Art', 1923 in ''El Lissitzky' but original publication indicates the actual volume is No 11, 1921)

Reference:
Marlijn F. Le Coultre, Wendingen: A Journal for the Arts 1918-1932, Princeton Architecture Press, New York, 2001

History

Notes

Wendingen published 1918-1931
[Architecture and design journal]
On offer through Ubu Gallery, New York through the International Works on Paper Fair, Sydney, NSW July 1997

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1997

Acquisition Date

5 September 1997

Cite this Object

Harvard

'Wendingen' journal cover by El Lissitzky, 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 September 2019, <https://ma.as/157543>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/157543 |title='Wendingen' journal cover by El Lissitzky, |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 September 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display at the Powerhouse Museum.

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