El Lissitzky designed this advertisement for Pelikan Ink during an extended four-year stay in Germany. In these years, he introduced a disbelieving public to the radical art of Russian Constructivism and connected with local artists like Kurt Schwitters, a Dadaist based in Hanover. Their friendship was strengthened by a shared commitment to graphic design reform. Hanover-based Pelikan Ink was an ideal client for Schwitters and Lissitzky; its product catered to artists, so the firm wanted its advertisements to embody the newest artistic innovations. Lissitzky’s photogram combines the stylish abstraction and minimal presentation that German audiences liked with text elements to convey the marketing message. Advertisements like this one, and the one by Edmund Kesting shown below, helped bring abstraction into the mainstream.

Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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El Lissitzky, Russian, 1890–1941
Pelikan Tinte
Gelatin silver print, photogram
Image: 8 5/16 × 5 13/16 in. (21.1 × 14.7 cm) Sheet: 9 1/8 × 6 11/16 in. (23.2 × 17 cm) Mount: 12 1/8 × 10 1/16 in. (30.8 × 25.6 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund, The Manfred Heiting Collection

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number

Ex-collection Jan Tschichold, Basel; Galerie Berinson, Berlin. Bought by Manfred Heiting from Galerie Berinson GmbH 4/15/1987.