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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

Sergey Kuznetsov

[Gorky, Maxim; Peshkov, Aleksey (Maksimovich)]

(b Nizhny Novgorod, March 28, 1868; d Moscow, June 18, 1936).

Russian writer and critic. Early in his career he worked as an art critic for the Nizhegorodskiy Listok and published several articles (May–Sept, 1896) on the All-Russian Industrial and Art Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod in 1896. His aesthetic principles were very significantly influenced by the ‘philosophy of life’ of Friedrich Nietzsche, but on the other hand he borrowed heavily from the ‘revolutionary democratic aesthetics’ proposed by V. G. Belinsky, N. A. Dobroliubov and N. G. Chernyshevsky. He regarded as great art academic-style paintings that were intelligible to the people, and he opposed the ‘decadent’ and ‘antisocial’, which he saw in much new art, not least the work of Mikhail Vrubel’. Gor’ky’s interest in politics was evident in both his writing (e.g. the novel Mat’ [‘Mother’], 1906) and his fund-raising for the Bolsheviks. However, in his defence of artistic monuments (Revolution and Culture, 1918), he protested that the recent revolution was anti-cultural and in an attempt to oppose the destruction of Russian culture he founded the Culture and Freedom Society, which published a bulletin and collection of articles emphasizing the ideas that the material (outer) culture directly affects the spiritual (inner) one; that culture is non-party; and that the cultural heritage must be preserved. As a realist and a friend of Il’ya Repin he came into conflict not only with formalist critics such as Victor Shklovsky but also those Symbolists, Futurists and other avant-garde artists who felt that the revolution should build a distinctly Soviet culture using new artistic methods and approaches. From ...

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

Catherine Cooke

[Iogann; János](Lyudvigovich)

(b Alsó Hrabócz, nr Varanno [Nižny Hrabovec, nr Vranov, Slovakia], Aug 4, 1893; d Moscow, 1974).

Hungarian critic, active in the USSR. In Budapest in 1917, as János Mácza, he became one of the main contributors to the journal MA (Today). In 1919 he emigrated to Czechoslovakia, in 1922 rejoined MA colleagues in Vienna and in 1923 followed MA’s avant-garde contacts to Moscow. In 1928 he was a founder-member of the October Group that sought a synthesis of Modernism, especially Constructivism, with proletarian art. In 1929, moving further towards the Party line, he became a founder and chairman of the board of the All-Union Alliance of Associations of Proletarian Architects, Vopra, which explicitly rejected Constructivism. From 1930 Matsa was engaged in university teaching as well as architectural criticism. In 1931 he represented VOPRA on the editorial board of Soviet Architecture, entering actively into theoretical debates. Throughout the later 1930s and World War II, Matsa wrote extensively on Socialist Realism, though always managing to avoid totally vilifying former Modernists. Even in ...

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Temes-Mehala, nr Timişoara, March 8, 1887; d Budapest, Jan 26, 1972).

Hungarian painter, draughtsman and writer, active in Russia. He registered at the School of Crafts and Design, Budapest, in 1907, and went on to attend the Academy of Fine Arts (1908–12). In 1914 he showed his loosely executed drawings at the third Young Artists exhibition, and in the same year travelled to Italy. In 1915 he joined the Activists, the avant-garde artists grouped around his brother-in-law Lajos Kassák. Uitz’s expressive ink drawings appeared in the Activist periodical A Tett (‘The Act’, 1915). In April 1916 he took part in an exhibition at the National Salon in Budapest of work by The Young (Fiatalok) and the Seven (Hetek). He spent summer 1916 at the Kecskemét colony, where his painting became richer in colour. It was here that he painted Apple Pickers (1916; Budapest, N.G.), his first significant oil painting, influenced by Hungarian followers of Cézanne. In 1917...

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 ...

Article

Wojciech Włodarczyk

(b Wilno [now Vilnius, Lithuania], June 15, 1927; d Zakopane, March 23, 1957).

Polish painter and writer . He produced his first paintings under the supervision of his mother, the graphic artist Krystyna Wróblewska (b 1904). In 1945–52 he studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kraków, in the studios of Zygmunt Radnicki (b 1894), Zbigniew Pronaszko, Hanna Rudzka-Cybisowa (b 1897) and Jerzy Fedkowicz (b 1891). At the same time he studied the history of art and became involved in art criticism, publishing his exhibition reviews and polemical articles in cultural journals. From 1950, Wróblewski worked at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kraków. He exhibited from 1946 at exhibitions significant for contemporary Polish art, including the exhibition Sztuki nowoczesnej (‘Modern art’; Kraków, Pal. A., 1948) and the Wystawa młodej plastyki (‘Young plastic arts exhibition’) at the Arsenal, Warsaw (1955). Although during the 1940s Wróblewski produced only abstract compositions, he had a strong tendency towards realism, using a simple, but often ambiguous style. In ...

Article

Sergey Kuznetsov

[ Zhmuydzinavichyus, Antanas ( Ionasovich )]

(b Seiriai, Seinai region, Oct 31, 1876; d Kaunas, Aug 9, 1966).

Lithuanian painter, administrator and writer. He qualified as a drawing teacher at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts and taught at the Warsaw Commercial College (1899–1905) while continuing his studies. He also studied in Paris (from 1905), Munich (1908–9) and Hamburg (1912). During a short stay in Vilnius in 1906–7 he became close to Petras Rimša and Mikalojus Čiurlionis, founding the Lithuanian Art Society, which combined two trends in Lithuanian art: realist (Žmuidzinavičius, Petras Kalpokas, Rimša) and Symbolist (Čiurlionis). He was the initiator of the first Lithuanian Art Exhibition, held in Vilnius in 1907, at which he showed 35 paintings, among them Peasant Kitchen (1905; Kaunas, A. Žmuidzinavičius Mem. Mus.). During these years Žmuidzinavičius was influenced by the work of the Symbolists, as evident in Horseman (1910–12; Kaunas, A. Žmuidzinavičius Mem. Mus.). His essays on art were published in periodicals and newspapers in Vilnius, Kaunas and Warsaw in the first two decades of the 20th century. He maintained contact with Lithuanian emigrés in the USA, which he visited in ...