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Object Timeline

1925

  • Work on this object began.

1935

  • Work on this object ended.

2014

2019

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Poster, The Ghost that isn't Returning, 1929

This is a Poster. It was designed by Georgii Augustovich Stenberg and Vladimir Augustovich Stenberg. It is dated 1929 and we acquired it in 2014. Its medium is lithograph on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

This poster advertises a Soviet film from 1929, The Ghost That Isn’t Returning, directed by Abram Room. Room is best known for directing Bed and Sofa, a 1927 film for which the Stenberg brothers designed one of their most iconic posters. The Ghost That Isn’t Returning follows Jose Real, a South American oilfield worker sentenced to life in prison for protesting his country’s totalitarian regime. After he instigates rebellion among his fellow prisoners, the guards grant him a one-day furlough, during which they plan to assassinate him. An agent tracks Real across the desert, as he unites with his family and plots another prison revolt. The poster depicts this chase. To the left, the agent follows Real up a yellow staircase, evocative of the vast desert landscape where Real struggles to evade him. On the right, the agent towers over the scene, checking his watch and waiting to catch Real in a trap. The chase unfolds over many scenes, but the poster’s composition is inspired by a specific moment in the film, when the agent walks down a long dirt road, streaked with the shadows of fence posts. The Stenberg brothers have cleverly transformed the scene, converting the shadows into the steps of a staircase. Their design captures the suspense of pursuit, heightened by sharp angles and contrasting colors.

This object was donated by Merrill Berman. It is credited Gift of Merrill C. Berman in honor of Ellen Lupton.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 94.9 × 62.5 cm (37 3/8 × 24 5/8 in.)

Cite this object as

Poster, The Ghost that isn't Returning, 1929; Designed by Georgii Augustovich Stenberg and Vladimir Augustovich Stenberg; Russia; lithograph on paper; H x W: 94.9 × 62.5 cm (37 3/8 × 24 5/8 in.); Gift of Merrill C. Berman in honor of Ellen Lupton; 2014-20-4

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68724321/ |title=Poster, The Ghost that isn't Returning, 1929 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 March 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>