Dark Forces - Russian Film 1927 - Dlugach

ART DECO-Modernism


Designer VerificationNone
A- Linen Backed

Artist: MIKHAIL O. DLUGACH (1893-1985)
Size: 28 1/2 x 41 7/8 in.
Condition: A-
Printer: Sovkino Film

Dark Forces. 1927.
Intrigue surrounds this 1927 film poster by Mikhail O. Dlugach, a prolific but little-known Constructivist artist. "Dark forces" was a specific term that began circulating throughout Revolutionary Russia: referring to Rasputin, Germans, Jews, speculative traders, corrupt officials, depending upon who was speaking. A Russian film called "Dark Forces," produced by the film company of I.G. Libkin, was created in 1917; we can speculate this poster was for a re-release a decade later. Dlugach here uses the concentric-circle technique favored by the Russian avant-garde at this time period; naval intrigues were often used to frame larger political issues. The cap of the sailor on the left is stenciled "Circe," the name of the sorceress in Homer's Odyssey who transforms Odysseus' shipmates into animals.
Mikhail Dlugach was a prolific graphic designer and poster artist. He was born in Kiev in 1893 and received his artistic training at the local art school where he studied from 1905 to 1917.
In 1922 he moved to Moscow and started working as a film poster designer, soon becoming one of the leading artists in the field. In 1924 he joined Reklam Film, the advertising department of the newly-established. The department, headed by Iakov Ruklevskii, produced a great amount of film posters for both Soviet and foreign productions, employing many talented young artists.
In 1926 Dlugach joined AKhRR (The Association of the Artists of the Revolution), a union of artists who advocated realism in art — this was immediately reflected in his work which acquired a narrative, anecdotal character. In his distinctive designs the figures of film actors were skillfully drawn and arranged on the poster plane into mises-en-scènes from the advertised films.
In 1931 Dlugach also became a member of ORRP (The Association of Revolutionary Poster Artists). In the 1930s he continued to work in film and political poster design as well as exhibition design. In 1940 he helped to design the exhibition pavilion at the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition in Moscow. During the Second World War Dlugach was evacuated to Ufa and worked for Okna TASS creating agitational war posters. In the postwar period he continued working as a poster designer, making political and agitational posters, as well as circus advertisements, badges and medals. In 1958 he was one of the artists involved in setting up the Soviet pavilion at the International Exhibition in Brussels. Dlugach lived a long productive life and died in 1988, at the ag