Soviet Art

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Category Archive: Collectibles

The heroic way of the Komsomol matchbox labels

The heroic way of the Komsomol matchbox labels

A set of match labels issued in 1984 in the USSR. 1961 – Yuri Gagarin – first man in space, and construction and development of BAM (Baikal-Amur Railway). The heroic way of the Komsomol matchbox labels

The heroic way of the Komsomol matchbox labels

In the above photo – “The heroic way of the Komsomol” set of match labels issued in 1984 in the USSR. It is the work by the artist M.D. Griberg, for Balabanovo Experimental Factory, Kaluga Region. The match labels show episodes of the working life of the Communist Youth League, its slogans and achievements. And now, some information on the history of Soviet Komsomol after the WWII.
November 18, 1958 the newspaper “Komsomolskaya Pravda” looked unusual. The issue opened with an appeal: “Give communist labor brigade!”, “Leninsky Komsomol Communist teams met seven years!” From the pages of the newspaper to the reader looked perky faces of the workers, who proposed on the eve of the XXI Congress of the CPSU to start a new competition – the movement for communist labor. Thus a new, higher stage of socialist competition arose. And the first (in October – November 1958) who most clearly and fully formulated the tasks of the new competition, were young communists and Komsomol members. In particular, workers of the depot Moscow-sorting Kazan Railway, innovators of the Leningrad Metal Plant, and several advanced collectives, among whom were miners of Ukraine, Baku oil, and Belarusian builders. At their suggestion, a competition for the title of collectives of communist labor began. They put forward the motto: “Learn, live and work in a communist way.”
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The USSR Industry Achievements matchbox labels

The USSR Industry Achievements matchbox labels

1959 matchstick box label. Children’s toy. From the series The USSR Industry Achievements matchbox labels

The USSR Industry Achievements matchbox labels
The match-sticker label, after the revolution and complete nationalization of match factories dramatically changed its content and purpose. On the labels began to print ideological appeals and slogans, and information about various events, advertising products and services. In the USSR, Phillumeny, in contrast to the numismatics dealing with precious metals, was strongly supported. At the same time, being the most mass media in the USSR (label production reached hundreds of millions), match labels underwent strict censorship. Accordingly, until the middle of the 1950s, every match label was approved with the resolution “Corresponds to the print allowed by Gorlit.”
Meanwhile, in the days of Stalin, it was forbidden to portray the portraits of the “leader of the peoples” on the labels. However, the slogans praising him were greeted. Later, when censorship reduced, a huge number of highly professional mini masterpieces appeared. Never thrown away, they became the collectibles. In fact, they featured all spheres of the life of Soviet society: from everyday objects to flight into space. Soviet people, as well as our contemporaries, carefully considered, exchanged and collected black and white, multicolored, souvenir, greeting and advertising matchboxes made in the Soviet Union.
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Soviet sculptor-ceramist Natalya Danko 1892-1942

Soviet sculptor-ceramist Natalya Danko 1892-1942. Worker embroidering Soviet Red banner

Worker embroidering Soviet Red banner. Soviet sculptor-ceramist Natalya Danko (1892-1942)

Soviet sculptor-ceramist Natalya Danko (1892-1942) entered the history of Soviet propaganda porcelain as one of the most remarkable sculptors. For twenty-five years of creative work she has created more than three hundred figures and compositions. In particular, thematic sculptures, satirical, portrait and decorative, not counting options made in bronze, terracotta, wax and earthenware. Also, Natalia was one of the first Soviet sculptors to use porcelain in architecture. Noteworthy are 14 bas-reliefs on the theme “Dances of the Peoples of the USSR” for the metro station “Sverdlov Square”. In addition, under her leadership, a team of sculptors and artists of Leningrad porcelain factory performed porcelain bas-reliefs for the Khimki river station in Moscow (1937-1938).
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Symbolic geometric pattern of famous Soviet porcelain

Symbolic geometric pattern of famous Soviet porcelain

Tea set. Soviet artist Anna Yatskevich. Lomonosov Porcelain Factory. Leningrad, the USSR. Gold medal at Brussels World’s Fair. 1958. Symbolic geometric pattern of famous Soviet porcelain

Symbolic geometric pattern of famous Soviet porcelain

Few people know that the famous geometric pattern of the Leningrad porcelain is a symbol of remembrance of the heroic feat of the blockade of Leningrad. The most famous pattern of the Leningrad porcelain – Cobalt net. It appeared shortly after the end of the blockade in 1944. It was not just a geometric pattern. The artist Anna Yatskevich, author of the famous blue logo of Lomonosov Porcelain Factory (LPF), painted with mesh porcelain tea set of sculptor Serafima Yakovleva, in memory of the taped crosswise windows of homes and cross spotlights illuminating the sky during the siege of Leningrad.
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Pigeon species USSR matchbox labels

Pigeon species USSR matchbox labels, 1963, green paper

Pigeon species USSR matchbox labels, 1963, green paper

Pigeon species USSR matchbox labels
Pigeon, as the symbol of world peace has always been an inspiration for Soviet artists, song writers and film directors. Besides, pigeon keeping was extremely popular in the Soviet Union. There were clubs for pigeon lovers, and dovecotes were in every yard. Circling flocks of beautiful birds – white, black and blue-gray doves flew over our heads. Pigeons could always be seen on the roof of the dovecotes, looking from above at the whistling and waving children. Pigeon keeping was a favorite hobby of many Soviet men. And especially for pigeon fanciers, or just bird lovers and ornithologists issued matchbox labels and postage stamps with the images of pigeon breeds.
Unfortunately, dovecotes began to disappear as a class by the end of the 90s. With the collapse of the USSR changed interests and, gradually pigeon keeping seized to exist. Although pigeon lovers clubs still exist and volunteers support old city tradition, but one can hardly gather a flock of birds with just one cheerful whistle, as it was before.
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Soviet New Year greeting cards history

A pioneer girl decorating Soviet New Year tree. First Soviet Christmas-New Year cards history

A pioneer girl decorating Soviet New Year tree. Soviet New Year greeting cards history

Soviet New Year greeting cards history

How celebrated New Year’s Day in the USSR? Well, approximately the same way as in modern Russia.
First of all, it should be noted that neither in Soviet times, nor in modern Russia the tree, the holiday, and the whole celebration can be called “Christmas”. Instead, it’s always been a New Year’s Day, New Year tree and New Year holidays. And Christmas in the USSR, as well as in modern Russia, is celebrated on January 7, very modestly, and after the grandiosely and noisy celebration of New Year’s day holidays. But in Soviet history was the period covering roughly about two decades, when the traditional New Year tree, Father Frost (Ded Moroz) and Snowmaiden (Snegurochka) weren’t encouraged, as if did not exist at all. The same goes for Christmas cards, that is, in early 1920s – 1930s they were not printed. It all started December 27, 1935 when four senior leaders headed by Stalin were traveling in a car inspecting New Year’s Moscow.
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Soviet medalist Nikolay Sokolov

90th anniversary of Lenin's birth. 1960. Soviet medalist Nikolay Sokolov (December 28, 1892 - April 7, 1974)

90th anniversary of Lenin’s birth. 1960. Soviet medalist Nikolay Sokolov (December 28, 1892 – April 7, 1974)

Soviet medalist Nikolay Sokolov (December 28, 1892 – April 7, 1974) – sculptor, Honored Art worker of the RSFSR, Honored Artist of the RSFSR. Since January 1, 1950 to June 1, 1971 – the main artist of the Leningrad Mint, author of many medals, including portraits of political and public figures of the Soviet Union. Nikolay Aleksandrovich Sokolov was born in 1892. He studied at the Leningrad Institute of improvement of professional skill of art workers. In 1925-1926 he worked at the Leningrad Mint under the direction of F. Vasyutinsky. The talented sculptor-medalist, the author of numerous commemorative medals in a variety of materials, including bronze, silver, gold, Nikolai Sokolov, worked for many years on the image of the great leader Vladimir Lenin. The Government appreciated the contribution of the sculptor-medalist, awarding him the Order of Lenin. During the life of the Soviet medalist, in honor of his 70th anniversary was released Medal “NA Sokolov” (USSR, Leningrad Mint, 1962, medalist A.V.Kozlov).
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