New Man
Plate 10 from the portfolio Victory over the Sun

El Lissitzky (Eleazar Lissitzky), Russian, 1890 - 1941. Printed and published by Rob. Leunis & Chapman, Hanover, Germany.

Geography:
Made in Germany, Europe

Date:
1923

Medium:
Color lithograph

Dimensions:
Image: 13 x 13 1/4 inches (33 x 33.7 cm) Sheet: 21 x 18 inches (53.3 x 45.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1953-23-10

Credit Line:
Gift of Dr. George J. Roth, 1953

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Label:
A peripatetic artist, El Lissitzky frequently traveled between Moscow, Berlin, and Paris through the 1920s. This lithograph is part of a portfolio of costume designs for an unrealized production of the Futurist opera Victory over the Sun (originally staged in Moscow in 1913) was sold in Paris in the vanguard bookshop and art gallery Au Sans Pareil. Lissitzky’s production was to be enacted by electronically driven mechanical figures, manlike machines that were also colorful geometric abstractions.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    The Futurist opera Victory over the Sun, first staged in Moscow in 1913, tells the tale of modern man's technological triumph over the sun's energy, a revolutionary theme carried out in avant-garde sets and costumes designed by the Russian artist Kasimir Malevich. By painting a solid black square on the curtain, it was here that Malevich introduced the stark emblem of Suprematism, a new art purged of subject matter and reduced to flat geometric forms executed in solid colors. El Lissitzky articulated some of his own provocative theories a decade later in Germany, where he played an activist's role in promoting Russian reformist art movements, with his portfolio of nine lithographs of emblematic characters for a new production of Victory over the Sun. Based on ideas that he had formulated back in Russia about 1920, Lissitzky's production was to be enacted by electronically driven mechanical figures, manlike machines that were geometric abstractions in themselves. Lissitzky designed this figure of New Man as a striding hero sporting a red square as the badge of his conquest. John Ittmann, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 240.