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Article

Russian, 20th century, female.

Born 1916; died 2002.

Painter, draughtswoman. Nudes.

Tamara Chilovskaia worked in the workshop of her father, a Stalinist architect. The Galerie Patrick Frémeaux in Vincennes posthumously presented an exhibition of her drawings, Forbidden Nudes in 2004. Drawing of nudes was effectively prohibited by the Soviet regime. In these drawings, the artist gives free rein to a fluid, sensual stroke inherited from the Constructivism of Matisse's 1930s....

Article

(Paris 1937)

International exhibition held in Paris from May to November 1937. It was memorable for the naked politics of competing national pavilions at the time of mounting international tensions. In turn, it introduced viewers to new art forms including Picasso’s Guernica (1937; Madrid, Prado), the prominent use of photomurals, and the modern paradigm of ‘transmediality’.

The hulking Soviet and Nazi pavilions squared off on either side of the Eiffel Tower (itself a remnant of a past fair) on the Champs de Mars, casting the other 43 national pavilions and the cluster of French regional pavilions into shadow. Critics noted the overpowering nature of the German pavilion—a stark, streamlined Doric box surmounted by a massive square tower, designed by Adolf Hitler’s favourite architect, Albert Speer (see fig.)—and the equally aggressive Soviet pavilion with its stepped profile, designed by Boris Iofan. Observers may have hoped that a pacifist France, symbolized by the long curved arms of the brand new and yet elegantly neo-classical Trocadéro complex (by ...

Article

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Prague, Dec 25, 1898; d Prague, Jan 3, 1967).

Czech architect and teacher. He graduated in architecture (1922) from the Technical University, Prague. With his fellow students Vít Obrtel (1901–88), Evžen Linhart and Karel Honzík he formed the Four Purists, who sought to simplify architectural form as much as possible to geometric volumes. In 1923 he became a member of Devětsil, the avant-garde group centred on the figure of Karel Teige; he also joined the Architects’ Club. Fragner’s first independent work was the post-natal unit (1923–8) at Mukačevo, Ukraine, one of the first buildings in which Functionalist principles were applied. In 1927 he designed a garden city housing scheme (unexecuted) for Barrandov, Prague, with several types of suburban houses, based on the optimization of local features. These ideas were reflected in a number of other houses, for example in Kostelec nad Černými Lesy (1931–2) and Nespeky (1932–3), which also used various materials such as bare brickwork and natural stone to achieve harmony with the site. Between ...

Article

V. Rakitin

(Mikhaylovich)

(b Kozlov [now Michurinsk, Tambov region], Aug 12, 1881; d Moscow, July 23, 1963).

Russian painter, stage designer and administrator. He studied at the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow (1903–15) under Abram Arkhipov, Nikolay Kasatkin and Korovin family, §2, among others. At the School he emerged as a leader of a group of traditionalists who contended with the avant-garde led by Mikhail Larionov. After service in the army he returned to Kozlov, where he worked as a stage designer and decorated the town for revolutionary festivities. In 1925 he moved to Moscow, where he was a member of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia. The style Gerasimov was using by the mid-1920s in his landscapes and portraits, which was a combination of academic realism and Impressionism, remained practically unchanged throughout his life.

Gerasimov’s work is significant as representative of a solemn ‘heroic realism’ (e.g. Lenin on the Tribune, 1929–30; Moscow, Cent. Lenin Mus.), later considered a paradigm of Socialist Realism. He painted a series of pompous official portraits of Soviet leaders (e.g. ...

Article

Catherine Cooke

(Yakovlevich)

(b Minsk, May 23, 1892; d Moscow, Jan 7, 1946).

Belarusian architect, urban planner, theorist and teacher. His age and background prepared him ideally for a central position among the architects who led the Modernist avant-garde in the USSR in the 1920s. He is best known for his leadership, with Aleksandr Vesnin, of the Constructivist architectural group from 1925 to 1931, but he was a consistently influential figure in Soviet architecture from the early 1920s until his premature death after World War II. Ginzburg insisted on constant re-evaluation and innovation in three key dimensions: architecture must tackle new social tasks; it must create new ‘spatial organisms’ to facilitate, reflect and catalyze those tasks; and it must harness the new technologies of mass production and the new building materials to achieve fulfilment of those tasks. A new ‘style’ would be the aesthetic correlate and result of these innovations.

The son of an architect in Minsk, with limited access as a Jew to higher education in Russia, Ginzburg attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Ecole d’Architecture in Toulouse before joining the studio of ...

Article

Russian, 20th century, male.

Born 1893, in Moscow; died 1973, in Moscow.

Painter. Stage sets.

Socialist Realism.

Boris Ioganson studied first with Petr Ivanovich Kelin before attending the institute of painting, sculpture and architecture in Moscow from 1912 to 1918

He is considered to be one of the most important representatives of Socialist Realism; the subjects and the style of his relatively few works conform to the directives of the official line. Ioganson also wrote on painting and designed a number of theatre sets. A member of the USSR Academy of Arts, he was its president ...

Article

Anna Bentkowska

(b Olesko, nr Lwów [now L’viv, Ukraine], Sept 12, 1920; d Warsaw, Sept 25, 1972).

Polish painter, theatre designer and architect. He began his artistic education by taking lessons in sculpture and painting; he then trained as an architect at the Polytechnics of Lwów (1939–41) and Gdańsk (1945–6). He briefly studied painting as a student of Eugeniusz Eibisch in Kraków (1945). Constantly searching for new forms of expression, he explored various disciplines and techniques and, throughout his career, moved from one style to another. His first paintings were influenced by Eibisch’s colourism. In this post-war period he also worked on various architectural, sculptural and theatrical designs, such as the statue of the poet Adam Mickiewicz (1947; unexecuted) and the pavilion for the Agricultural Exhibition, Czȩstochowa (1949). He soon followed the newly imposed style of Socialist Realism, becoming one of its leading figures with works such as Pass Me a Brick (1950; Wrocław, N. Mus.). Unhindered by ideological restrictions, his series of sketches from Vietnam (...

Article

John E. Bowlt

(Timofeyevich)

(b Karakovichi, Smolensk province, June 28, 1874; d Moscow, Oct 9, 1971).

Russian sculptor. From 1892 to 1896 he attended the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he studied under Sergey Volnukhin (1859–1921), and from 1899 to 1902 he attended the St Petersburg Academy of Arts, studying under Vladimir Beklemishev (1861–1920). He moved quickly from the academic lessons of these teachers, reflected in such pieces as The Stone-breaker (bronze, 1898; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), to a more lyrical concept in the early 1900s: travelling frequently in Western Europe, he studied the sculpture of Bourdelle, Rodin and Gauguin and produced a number of works that bear their influence such as Nike (marble, 1906) and Lada (marble, 1909) (both Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.). In the 1900s Konyonkov also became increasingly interested in Russian legend and mythology, producing interpretations of such folklore figures as the Bogatyr Kuz’ma Sirafontov (plaster, 1913; Serpukhov, A. Mus.). Because of its malleability and expressive potential, wood became his preferred medium....

Article

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Prague, June 5, 1893; d Brno, June 7, 1974).

Czech architect, theorist, graphic artist, designer, teacher and writer. He graduated in architecture from the Czech Technical University, Prague, where he studied with Jan Koula (1855–1919), Josef Fanta and Antonín Balšánek (1865–1921). While still studying he became a member of the Mánes Union of Artists. During the period 1921 to 1928 he practised in Mladá Boleslav and in 1925 he was appointed Professor of Architecture at the Technical University in Brno. At the same time he was a founder-member of Socialistická scéna (Socialist Stage), for which he worked as stage manager, set designer and graphic artist. Kroha’s early work was based on a distinctive conception of Cubism, as in the Crematorium in Pardubice (1919), and Expressionism, as in the Catholic church, Prague-Vinohrady (1918–19), which he formulated in a series of extremely varied competition designs for buildings that were full of tension and explosiveness. His works at Mladá Boleslav, especially the State Technical College (...

Article

(b Moscow, Sept 22, 1859; d Moscow, Dec 6, 1937).

Russian painter and designer. He attended the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1881–90, studying under Vladimir Makovsky, Vasily Polenov and Illarion Pryanishnikov, and joined the Wanderers (Peredvizhniki) in 1891. At first Malyutin supported the traditions of narrative Realism, as is clear from paintings such as Peasant Girl (1890; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), although he quickly developed other interests in the popular arts and crafts, in history painting and in plein-air painting.

Like other Russian artists of his time such as Ivan Bilibin, Nicholas Roerich, the Vasnetsov brothers and Mikhail Vrubel’, Malyutin turned for inspiration to Russian folklore, ancient history and the domestic arts, as in his panoramic Battle of Kulikovo for the Historical Museum in Moscow (1898) and in his invention in 1889 of the matryoshka (Russian stacking doll), which, misleadingly, has now been accepted as an integral part of traditional Russian folk art. In the 1890s he worked at the ...

Article

Russian, 20th century, male.

Born 1893, in Prislonikha; died 1972, in Prislonikha.

Painter. Scenes with figures, genre scenes, landscapes.

Socialist Realism.

Arkadi Aleksandrovich Plastov studied at the Stroganov school of painting and architecture in Moscow. He was a member of the USSR academy of arts and was awarded the Stalin Prize in ...

Article

M. N. Sokolov

(Arkad’yevich)

(b Prislonikha, Ul’yanovsk region, Jan 30, 1893; d Prislonikha, May 12, 1972).

Russian painter. He was from a peasant family, and he studied in Moscow, at the Stroganov School (1912–14) and also at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1914–17). The late Impressionist painting of members of the Union of Russian Artists, in particular Abram Arkhipov and Konstantin Korovin, as well as the lyrical, rich colourism of Sergey Gerasimov, had the greatest effect on Plastov. At first he worked mainly in posters and book illustration. He continued to produce book illustrations (e.g. to Lev Tolstoy’s story Kholstomer, ‘The canvas measurer’, watercolour and gouache, 1952–4; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), but he achieved success mostly as a painter. His first significant painting is the Collective Farm Holiday (1937; St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.), executed in the official Socialist Realist style of the 1930s. Yet the spirited, strikingly emotional style of painting and the liveliness of the national types compensate to a considerable extent for its propagandist content....

Article

(Mikhaylovich)

(b St Petersburg, 1906; d Moscow, 1965).

Soviet architect. He was one of the most prolific architects working in the monumental style of Socialist Realism promoted by Joseph Stalin. He studied at the Leningrad Art-Technical Institute under Ivan Fomin, and he then assisted Vladimir Shchuko in his competition entry (1933) for the Palace of the Soviets, Moscow, a fantastic confection in a neo-Byzantine style. His own work at the time was more restrained; for example, a block of flats (1933–5), 45 Arbat, Moscow, was severely rectilinear, having a two-storey base of engaged columns with shops behind, and four storeys of flats in rusticated stone. Polyakov’s main gate for the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (1939), Moscow (later Exhibition of Economic Achievement of the USSR), is a highly abstract monumental arch in a stripped classical manner and with heroic reliefs, reminiscent of Shchuko’s Lenin Library (1928), Moscow. The current main gate (...

Article

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Prague, Aug 24, 1923; d 2001).

Czech architect. He graduated in architecture from the Czech Technical University, Prague, in 1949, beginning his career during the period of Socialist Realism. He then began to use new materials and structural elements; for example, his Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry (1963), Prague, introduced a light curtain wall and a typical plan (low and wide entrance hall, with conference rooms, halls and restaurant, and high-rise office building) that was subsequently widely adopted by architects in Czechoslovakia. Other examples of his innovative structural designs include the use of Vierendeel bridge trusses in his extension (1966–71) to the Federal Assembly building in Prague and the use of a heavy glass wall for acoustic purposes in the new auditorium (1983; with Stanislav Libenský) at the National Theatre in Prague. In 1990–92 he designed the reconstruction of the House of Artists in Prague, and in 1993–4 he designed the reconstruction of the Cubist House at Black Madonna in Prague....

Article

(b Vienna, Jan 19, 1903; d Budapest, Dec 21, 1958).

Hungarian architect. He graduated in 1925 from the Hungarian Palatine Joseph Technical University, Budapest, then worked in the office of Kálmán Maróthy in Budapest until 1932. On several trips around Europe he studied the work of Fritz Höger and Peter Behrens in Germany and that of W. M. Dudok, Michel de Klerk and P. L. Kramer in the Netherlands, although his first significant independent work, St Anthony’s Church and Franciscan monastery (1931–4), Pasaréti Street, Budapest, shows the influence of Italian Rationalism and Novecentismo. The rectangular church’s northern flank abuts the monastery, and the southern face is linked to a square bell-tower. The simple masses of the church are resolved by curved arcades, a motif repeated in the entrance, the interior and on top of the bell-tower. In independent practice (1933–48) Rimanóczy designed a number of modernist houses, notably the Szakáts Villa (1934), Pasaréti Street, Budapest, and the Poward Villa (...

Article

Catherine Cooke

(Viktorovich)

(b Kishinyov [now Chişinău], Moldova, Sept 26, 1873; d Moscow, May 24, 1949).

Russian architect, urban planner and restorer, of Moldovan birth. Although by nature a historicist, to whom undecorated Modernism was a response to poverty rather than an aim in itself, he came to occupy a central position in the formative years of Soviet Modernist architecture during the 1920s. His own best works, however, date in general from the periods before the Revolution of 1917 and after 1930, when public architectural tastes were closer to his own.

His father was a minor official in Russian provincial administration in Kishinyov. Orphaned while still at school, but a highly talented draughtsman, Shchusev went to St Petersburg and entered the Academy of Arts in 1891 studying, after the reforms of 1894, in the studio of Leonty Benois. His diploma project of 1897 won him the Academy’s gold medal and a 16-month trip to Europe in 1898–9. On his return he worked for Benois until receiving his own first significant commission in ...

Article

Katherine Zubovich

Architecture designed or built from the late 1920s to the mid-1950s during the Stalinist period in the USSR (1928–53) and after World War II in Eastern Bloc countries. Stalinist architecture is often characterized by its orientation towards classical and national traditions, by its monumentality, and by its representational ornament. The term also refers to the institutional framework within which architecture was practised in the Soviet Union following the First Five-Year Plan (1928–32). In April 1932 the USSR Communist Party Central Committee issued the decree ‘On the Reconstruction of Literary–Artistic Organizations’. The decree disbanded all independent cultural organizations and created unions for each branch of the arts, bringing artistic practice more directly under official scrutiny and eventually unifying the arts under the common doctrine of Socialist Realism. The USSR Union of Architects, based in Moscow, was formed in 1932. In 1933, the USSR Academy of Architecture was established. Academic training was based on the Beaux-Arts model, with students in the Academy’s Moscow studios studying Classical architecture from Greece, Rome, and the Renaissance, followed by the study of Russian classical models. Branches of the union and the academy were established in all republics of the USSR. After ...

Article

(b Budapest, Oct 29, 1906; d Budapest, July 8, 1965).

Hungarian architect, critic, urban planner and furniture designer . After graduating in 1929 from the Hungarian Palatine Joseph Technical University, Budapest, he joined the Bauhaus in Dessau, where he worked under Hannes Meyer. Weiner attended the CIAM II Congress (1929), Frankfurt, and, convinced that the architect’s mission was to serve and transform society, he followed Meyer and his group to the USSR in 1931. There, as assistant professor at the Technical University, Moscow, he contributed, with Hans Schmidt and Konrad Püschel, to urban planning projects, in particular the underground railway system, Moscow, and the development of the city of Orsk. Weiner left the USSR in 1933, and, after working in Basle from 1934 to 1936, in 1937–8 he was employed by Grete Schütte-Lihotzky (b 1897) in Paris, designing furniture for children. In 1939 he moved to Chile, where he became a professor of architecture (1946–8) at the University of Santiago. In ...