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Maker(s):Merkushev, Mikhail Ivanovich
Title:Abstract Design
Date Made:1920
Materials:Linocut mounted on a thin brown paper
Measurements:Mount: 10 7/8 x 6 7/16 in.; 27.6 x 16.4 cm; Sheet: 4 3/8 x 3 1/4 in.; 11.1 x 8.3 cm; Image: 4 1/8 x 3 1/16 in.; 10.5 x 7.8 cm
Accession Number:  AC 2001.202
Credit Line:Gift of Thomas P. Whitney (Class of 1937)
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College


Label Text:
Merkushev created these four designs (AC 2001.200–203) for the first issue of the journal Vsadnik (Horseman). The three issues of the journal appeared in the town of Kazan between 1920 and 1922. It was one of the few publications in the south of Russia, advancing the technique of printing as a form of artistic expression in its own right. The members of Vsadnik were avant-garde artists exploring new forms and aiming to introduce contemporary Western European and Russian art to a wider audience.

The prints’ patterns reflect the breadth of artistic approaches at the time. They play with geometrical abstraction, reflecting Constructivism, and organic abstraction, suggesting Kandinsky’s lyricism. The largest image appears to have its roots in a folk motif, while the letters suggest avant-garde nonsense texts.
BJ, 2014

abstract; nonrepresentational art; design

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