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1930s in Russian Art. From "Bytie" to the "Union of Artists"

*Art Group "Bytie" (Existence) was a society of artists formed by graduates of VkuTeMas in Moscow in 1921. Its core was formed by students of Petr Konchalovsky. "Bytie" organized seven exhibitions between 1922 and 1929.

26.09.2014 — 02.11.2014

The artwork and graphics of the 1930s were perceived as a transformation from the avante-garde to Social Realism and as a form of experimentation with creating art under the guidelines set by the government. However, over time researchers and collectors of art discovered an entirely unique language present in the works of this time period. The 1930s art and graphics of artists Sergey Bogdanov, Nikolay Viting, Ivan Dmitriev, Elena Orlovskaya, Olga Deineko and Vladimir Andreev presented at the exhibit reflect how individualized, often painful, however successful the process of creating a new language for Russian art truly was.


Sergey Bogdanov was born in 1888 in Tambov in the family of the teacher. His father taught Russian literature in the seminary of Tambov. Bogdanov graduated from the same seminary and moved to Moscow to his grandfather for art studies.

He was in luck because he studied by the best painters of different art schools of his time. In 1911-1914 he studied in Moscow at the art studio of K.Yuon, then in 1914-1917 he studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture where his professor was K.Korovin. Another famous art teacher of Bogdanov was P.Konchalovsky, one of the leading artists of the JACK OF DIAMONDS avant-garde group. In 1918-1919 Bogdanov worked in Konchalovsky's studio.

In 1919 Bogdanov was sent to Orenburg to organize Art College there. He taught in Orenburg for a short time and returned to Moscow in 1922.

In 1922 Bogdanov joined art group EXISTENCE, which included a lot of artists from JACK OF DIAMONDS group. Bogdanov participated in all the exhibitions of this group. In 1929 Bogdanov with a large group of artists from EXISTENCE joined Association of the Artists of Revolutionary Russia. This organization demanded from the avant-garde artists to transform their style to make it more popular and illustrative. For a lot of avant-garde artists this way was dreadful. But Bogdanov worked out his own creative style utilizing not only realistic viewpoint but also some avant-garde ideas of colours and composition. In 1936 Bogdanov was at the head of special group of artists. They travelled through the country and collected sketches for genre pictures and portraits of the best workers and collective farmers. They worked in Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, and Mordovia and in the Archangelsk region.

Works by S.Bogdanov are represented in the collections of the following museums: the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Fine Arts Museum in Nukus, Art Museum in Archangelsk, the A.Kasteev Kazakh State Museum, the Mordovian Republic Art Museum in Saransk, Tambov Art Gallery, Art Museum in Istra, National Gallery in Parma, private collections in Russia and Great Britain.


September 26 - November 2

1930s in RUSSIAN ART


Graphics and paintings by Sergey Bogdanov, Nikolay Troshin, Olga Deineko, Nikolay Viting, Porfiry Lebedev and others.

* Art Group "Bytie" ("Existence") was a society of artists formed by graduates of VKhuTeMas in Moscow in 1921. Its core was formed by students of Petr Konchalovsky. "Existence" organised seven exhibitions between 1922 and 1929.

* Union of Artists of the USSR was a creative union of the Soviet artists and arts critics embracing the Republics of the Soviet Union. The Union started in 1932 to supersede the AKhRR (The Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia). The integral Union was instituted in 1957. At January 1, 1976 the Union included 14,538 members.

The Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (Assotsiatsia Khudozhnikov Revolutsionnoi Rossii, 1922-1928, later known as Association of Artists of the Revolution - Assotsiatsia Khudozhnikov Revolutsii or AKhR, 1928-1932) was a group of artists in the Soviet Union in 1928-1933. Diverse members of the group gained favor as the legitimate bearers of the Communist ideal into the world of art, formulating framework for the Socialist Realism style. Original founding members included Pavel Radimov (the last chairman of Peredvizhniki movement), Sergey Malyutin, Yevgeny Katzman, Pyotr Shukhmin and other realist painters, who already established themselves in artistic world before the Russian Revolution of 1917. The group formed within the Peredvizhniki movement, that held their last, 47th, public exhibition in 1922, and clearly placed itself in opposition to avant-garde art.

Their first public statement as a new entity was a 1922 exhibition in Moscow; all proceeds were used for the relief of Russian famine of 1921. By 1928, the group sponsored 10 nation-wide exhibitions with high publicity. Despite its revolutionary title, it successfully united artists of the "old school" like Abram Arkhipov, Aleksandr Makovsky, Nikolay Kasatkin, Konstantin Yuon and the younger ones like Sergei Gerasimov and Isaak Brodsky. In a decade, it grew up from 80 to over 300 members. Broad membership and dominance of mature artists born in the 1870s and 1880s helped in establishing AKhRR as a reliable institution, far from ultra-revolutionary rhetorics. During the crackdown on independent art movements in 1932-1933, AKhRR served as the nucleus for the stalinist USSR Union of Artists, and was liquidated after its formation.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR (Please, RSVP at art@nbgalley.com):

NEW! Lectures on Russian art on Saturdays for adults. Once a month.

* Saturday, SEPTEMBER 27. 12 - 1pm. The first lecture - "Soviet art of 1930s"

* Sunday, OCTOBER 12. 11am - 1pm. Family Art Session for children 4-9 y.o and their parents "Realism and Avant-garde art - what is the difference?"

photo: Family Art-Session "Harvest Celebration" from August 30th