In 1978 Peter and Irene Ludwig loaned the Museum a collection of 123 photographs by Alexander Rodchenko which formed the basis of the first German collection of Soviet photographs, parallel to the art collection of the Russian avant-garde featuring works by all important Russian artists of the 1920s. This compilation was extended in 1992 by the loan of a further 65 works by Soviet photographers.
What sparked the interest in Soviet photography was probably the 1976 purchase of the famous ‘Pressa collages', created in 1927 by El Lissizky for the Russian pavilion at the Cologne exhibition. Today, photographs by Yuri Eremin, Boris Ignatovitch, Boris Kudojarov, Moisej Nappelbaum, Georgi Petrussov, Alexander Rodchenko, Ivan Shagin, Georgi Zelma and Georgi Zimin are part of the collection, and therefore almost all the leading photographers, many of whom initially belonged to the Russian avant-garde before they placed their works in the service of creating a new Soviet social order.
What remains outstanding is the collection of works by Alexander Rodchenko, ranging from the photomontage for Majakovski's ‘Pro Eto' from 1923 to the 1930 shot of ‘Pioneer with Horn'. This legendary view of a young boy with a trumpet, a section of his face captured from below, is of particular importance as the picture sparked a controversy. Some people considered it an adequate depiction of the young pioneer, others denounced the photograph as formalistic and, in doing so, heralded the end of the experimental, avant-garde view of photography and the world.