The most recent addition to the photographic collection is the Daniela Mrazkova Collection which, with works by the likes of Shaikhet, Zelma, Shterenberg, Ignatovich, Alpert, Petrussov, Rodchenko, contains outstanding exponents of Soviet photography from the 1920s and 1930s. These photographers represented the aims of the New Perception', a resolute shift from the classical tradition to a media-specific pictorial language for the revolutionary transformation of Russia into the Soviet Union. Unusual image details were chosen, they worked using extreme perspectives, and discovered ‘new' motifs in the factories, in urban life, and among the many ethnic groups of the Soviet Union. From the end of the 1920s onwards the creative potential of this avant-garde was regulated and increasingly forced into the ideological propaganda of ‘socialist realism'. In this process of a radical societal and political transformation photography played an outstanding role, initially as an artistic medium, then as documentary photography, and above all as a means of political journalism which was also, and predominantly, aimed at reaching the large army of illiterates.
Many of these photographers have addressed the then current importance of art, culture, and photography for the establishment of Socialism, not just in their photographic practice, but also in statements, letters, and newspaper articles. The discussion about the relevance of photography and its possibilities of actively and radically changing social conditions were an important part of the debates about art in the Soviet Union, and are of eminent importance for the history of the artistic avant-garde of the 20th century.
Very few collections in Germany include authentic, original material by the Russian avant-garde and by those photographers who began to work in the 1920s and who also, in order to further socialism, continued to work as propagandists during the era of ‘socialist realism'. Against this background the initiative of Peter and Irene Ludwig who, since the 1970s, have been building the first collection of Russian avant-garde paintings outside the Soviet Union, is an admirable deed. Therefore the purchase of the Mrazkova Collection for the museum, with its focus on ‘20th century Russian avant-garde', has to be considered a welcome addition.
This collection is currently undergoing scholarly appraisal and is scheduled to be made available to the general public at the Museum Ludwig in October 2009 by means of publication and an exhibition.