Soviet Art

USSR Culture

Kazimir Malevich iconic artist and founder of Suprematism

Self-portrait 1910

Self-portrait 1910

Biography of Kazimir Malevich

His father and mother were of Polish descent. They had 14 children, but only nine of the artist’s siblings survived to adulthood. Casimir, who was the eldest child, often traveled with his father in the service. For all his life, he remembered the beauty of Ukrainian nature and the hard life of the peasants.

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Artists-victims of Stalinist repression

Malevich. Reapers

Malevich. Reapers

Artists-victims of Stalinist repression

History is an inexact, evaluative science: embellishment and dramatization of events in it is a common thing. But many scary stories about Stalinist repression are an exception. There was no targeted campaign to destroy “ideological enemies” (as in the case of writers) against artists – more often there were “local excesses”. But some famous painters were repressed, although the authorities tried to pass off their cases as criminal ones.

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Bulldozer Exhibition

Bulldozer Exhibition

Bulldozer Exhibition

Legend of the Soviet era: “Bulldozer Exhibition”

In the USSR, they did not respect creativity, and even more so, avant-garde creativity. The totalitarian conservative state wanted to completely control its citizens, and therefore every now and then tried to discern “ideological enemies” in them. Creative impulses did not presuppose any other means of expression than the officially approved ones. And talents were allowed to create only within certain limits and only after they acquired a bunch of permits and certificates of participation in all sorts of “unions” and the like … In general, they did not understand, they were afraid and fought. There were, of course, exceptions, but that is why they are exceptions.

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Designer Eva Zeisel designer, ceramist and sculptor

Designer Eva Zeisel and her contribution to the development of Russian porcelain

Eva Zeisel, née Striker, is an internationally renowned designer, ceramist and sculptor, born on November 13, 1906. However, she herself did not like the modern word “designer” and preferred to call herself “the creator of things”. Eva lived 105 years and continued to do what she loved until the last day. During her long life, she managed to work in Hungary, Germany, the Soviet Union and the United States, and left a noticeable mark in each of these countries. The dishes that came out of her hands are not just beautiful: they are both delicate and functional. Rounded cups and handles delight the eye with smooth lines and fit comfortably in the hand. You can imagine these products both in a museum and in your home kitchen.

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Soviet artist Vitaly Polyakov 1925-1997

Soviet artist Vitaly Polyakov 1925-1997

Sculptor A.P. Kibalnikov at work (creating monument to Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky). Oil on cardboard, painting by Soviet artist Vitaly Polyakov (1925-1997)

Soviet artist Vitaly Polyakov
Born 18 June 1925 in Saratov, Polyakov Vitaly Anatolyevich was a renowned master of socialist realism. Vitaly Anatolyevich graduated with honors from the Saratov Art School in 1948. After graduation 24-year-old artist moved to Riga, where he studied painting in the workshops of J.R. Tilberg and K. Butcher (1949 – 1954) in the Latvian Art Academy.
The artist began participating in group exhibitions of Soviet art in 1954. Traditionally, the artist painted landscapes and portraits in oil. Among his works – a portrait of the composer L. Ladova, a portrait of the actress N. Neznamova, series of landscapes of Crimea, as well as cityscapes, including Riga, Jurmala and other cities. According to sources, his personal exhibition took place only in 1986. The member of the USSR Union of Soviet artists, Polyakov had lived in Riga until his death in 1997.
Now his oil paintings decorate various museums and private collections both in Latvia, Russia, Germany, and the USA.
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Soviet actress Lyudmila Shagalova

Soviet actress Lyudmila Shagalova

She knew she would be an actress even at the age of five. Soviet actress Lyudmila Shagalova (1923-2012)

Soviet actress Lyudmila Shagalova

Born on April 6, 1923 in the city of Rogachev (Belarus), she grew in a military family. Two and a half years later, she was left without a mother. And in 1928 her father was transferred to Moscow for service, where Lyudmila went to school. While still a schoolgirl, she came into contact with cinema. First, she hit the newsreel when she greeted Papanin heroes at a rally. And then the director Yakov Protazanov saw her and gave a small role (Lelya) in his film “Seventh Graders” (1938).
In 1944, Shagalova entered VGIK – All-Union institute of Cinematography (workshop of S. Gerasimov and T. Makarova). Thanks to the teachers, her debut in big cinema took place in the film by S. Gerasimov “The Young Guard” (1948), where Shagalova played the role of Valeria Borts. Over the following years, the actress played a number of small roles. In particular, “The Big Concert” (1951; collective farmer Katya), “Farewell to America!” (1952; Cecilia Wong), “Faithful friends” (1954; Katya Sintsova), “They came down from the mountains” (1954; Nastya Bulanova), “In Search of a Destination” (1955; Natasha Sokolova).
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Soviet Moscow in drawings by Vladimir Semyonov

22 June 1941 Germans attacked Russia. Moscow is the Hero City. Soviet Moscow in drawings by Vladimir Semyonov

Published in 1979 set of postcards. 22 June 1941 fascist Germany attacked Russia. Moscow is now the Hero City. Soviet Moscow in drawings by Vladimir Semyonov (27 November 1936 – 19 December 2003)

Soviet Moscow in drawings by Vladimir Semyonov
Born in Moscow in 1936, Vladimir Ivanovich Semenov was a famous Soviet graphic artist. He graduated from the Moscow Polygraphic Institute in 1966. Noteworthy, he became famous for created by him sets of postcards about the capital. In particular, postcards for foreign tourists in 1990. And this post features 32 postcards ‘Moscow and Moscovites’ published in 1979.
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