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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

John E. Bowlt

(Ignat’yevna)

(b Riga, June 19, 1889; d Moscow, Oct 6, 1953).

Russian sculptor and decorative artist of Latvian birth. From the mid-1900s until 1912 she attended various private art schools in Moscow, including that of Il’ya Mashkov, but her real training as a sculptor began in 1912, when she travelled to Paris. Until 1914 she took an active part in the artistic life of Paris, attending the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, taking lessons from Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, and making many acquaintances, among them Ossip Zadkine, Jacques Lipchitz, and also Lyubov’ Popova, with whom she travelled to Italy in 1914. After returning to Moscow following the outbreak of World War I, Mukhina worked for a time as scenographic assistant to Alexandra Exter in the Kamerny Theatre of Aleksandr Tairov (1885–1950) and also designed costumes independently for a number of plays, none of which was produced. Mukhina again joined forces with Exter in 1923, when both women worked on fabric and dress designs for the newly opened Atel’ye Mody (Atelier of Fashion) in Moscow; she also helped Exter with the costumes for the film ...

Article

Sergey Kuznetsov

(b Kutaisi, May 29, 1876; d Tbilisi, March 10, 1951).

Georgian sculptor. He was born into a family of artists: his father was a wood-carver, his brother Vasily a painter. From 1895 he studied at the Odessa school of drawing and first tried his hand at sculpture in 1896. The sculptor Georgy Gabashvili gave him encouragement, and shortly afterwards Nikoladze went to Paris, where he studied under Antonin Mercié, among others. In 1904 he was again in Paris where he switched from working in plaster to sculpting in stone and marble under the guidance of Emile-Antoine Bourdelle and Charles Despiau. The bronze Unemployed (1906; Sydney, priv. col.) was influenced by Rodin’s Burghers of Calais (1895; Calais, outside Hôtel de Ville). Nikoladze returned to Tbilisi a staunch supporter of Neo-classicism. Widespread recognition came as a result of his bronze monument to the poet I. Chavchavadze, Grieving Motherland (1910–12; Tbilisi, Mtatsminda Hill, pantheon of Georgian public figures), which portrays the figure of a woman under an ancient portal. The work is impressionistically vibrant yet precise and solid. Following this success, he was commissioned to represent numerous Georgian personages, past and present, including ...

Article

Sergey Kuznetsov

[Yehuda; Iyeguda] (Moiseyevich)

(b Novo-Aleksandrovsk, Kovenskaya province, ?1854; d Vitebsk [now Viciebsk], Feb 28, 1937).

Belarusian painter. After studying under Boris Gershovich and then under Pavel Chistyakov (1832–1919) at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts (1882–5), he founded his own art school in Viciebsk, where his pupils included Marc Chagall and Solomon Yudovin. The school paved the way for the intense artistic activity in Viciebsk in 1918–22, although Pen himself did not welcome the extreme avant-garde. The Unovis group founded by Kazimir Malevich left no room for Pen’s art, but he continued to teach nevertheless. Few of Pen’s works have survived; most of the 700 works that he gave to the Belarusian government and that were housed in the Yury Pen Museum in Viciebsk until World War II have been lost. Those works that have survived often reveal the artist’s desire to capture his surroundings, as in Old Soldier (Minsk, Belarus’. A. Mus.). His smaller paintings, such as Jewish Rabbi (untraced), the naive style of which resembles the works of Henri Rousseau and Niko Pirosmanashvili, bring together people, objects and nature. Pen considered realism the only possible means of expression in painting. Therefore, after he produced works with new titles in the 1920s, such as ...

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

Andon Kuqali

(b Durrës, July 31, 1932).

Albanian sculptor. He studied at the Jordan Misja Arts Lyceum in Tiranë (1947–51) and the Academy of Arts, Leningrad (now St Petersburg; 1954–60); he later taught at the Higher Institute of Art in Tiranë. Rama’s work is representative of contemporary Socialist Realist sculpture in Albania. He made his debut with some portrait sculptures of historical figures, for example Highlander (wood, 1957; Tiranë, A.G.) and Shote Galica (bronze, 1968; Kukës). He later developed towards monumental works such as Mother Albania (concrete, 1971; Tiranë, Martyrs’ Cemetery), on which he collaborated with Muntaz Dhrami and Shaban Hadëri. Rama was skilled at harmonizing the large scale of his sculptures with their many details and at creating a realist and expressive plasticity.

Përmendore të Heroizmit Shqiptar [Monuments of Albanian heroism; the catalogue of Albanian sculpture] (Tiranë, 1973), pls 24, 27, 30, 46, 59, 62, 119,120, 133 L. Blido: ‘Në përmasa njerëzore’ [In human dimensions], ...

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

M. N. Sokolov

(Vasil’yevna)

(b St Petersburg, Feb 25, 1891; d Moscow, June 16, 1955).

Russian painter. She trained under Dmitry Kardovsky at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts (1912–18 and 1921–3). From 1923 she lived and worked in Moscow, and she was a member of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR) from 1924. Typical of her early works is a detailed representation of everyday life in the spirit of the late work of the Wanderers, as in the painting In the Artist’s Studio (1927; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.). The dynamic element in her compositions gradually strengthened and she began to use sharp spatial shifts and abrupt foreshortening to express the emotional aspects of the social transformations in Russia. Her best-known painting, Ever Upwards! (Vsyo vyshe!; 1934; Kiev, Mus. Rus. A.), depicts a young man and woman, both riggers, climbing an electricity pylon; they are represented as the youthful spirits of love and labour. It became, along with Vera Mukhina’s sculpture ...

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

David Elliott and Piotr Juszkiewicz

[Rus. Sotsialisticheskiy Realizm]

Term used to describe the idealization of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the arts, apparently first used in the Soviet journal Literaturnaya Gazeta on 25 May 1932. After the cultural pluralism of the 1920s in the Soviet Union, and in line with the objectives of the Five-year plans, art was subordinated to the needs and dictates of the Communist Party. In 1932, following four years of ideological struggle and polemic among different artistic groups, the Central Committee of the party disbanded all existing artistic organizations and set up in their place party-led unions for individual art forms. In the summer of 1934, at the First All-Union Congress of Soviet Writers, Socialist Realism was proclaimed the approved method for Soviet artists in all media. Andrey Zhdanov, who gave the keynote address at the Congress, was Stalin’s mouthpiece on cultural policy until his death in 1948. In the words of his leader, the artist was to be ‘an engineer of the human soul’. The aim of the new creative method was ‘to depict reality in its revolutionary development’; no further guidelines concerning style or subject-matter were laid down. Accordingly, the idea of what constituted Socialist Realism evolved negatively out of a series of cultural purges orchestrated by Zhdanov in the pages of ...

Article

Yekaterina Andreyeva

[Sotz art]

Term used from 1972 to describe a style of unofficial art that flourished in the USSR from c. 1970 to c. 1985–8. The term itself is formed from the first syllable of Sotsialisticheskiy realizm (Rus.: ‘Socialist Realism’) and the second word of Pop art and is attributed to the art historian Vladimir Paperny. Sots art takes the style of Socialist Realism, with its mass ideological implications, as a legitimate object of investigation, intending to deconstruct the ideological system through its own visual language. It forms a criticism of Socialist Realism by unofficial Russian artists as reflecting the ideological myths underpinning Soviet society. The means of ideological propaganda are thus investigated in terms of their relation to the national mentality and their consumption as objects of mass culture. The main artists producing works of this type were Komar and Melamid, Erik Bulatov (e.g. Horizon, 1971–2; Paris, priv. col.), and, since the mid-1970s, ...

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

Stephan von Wiese

(b Mecklenburg, March 13, 1930).

German sculptor and stage designer. He studied painting at the Kunstakademie in Berlin-Weissensse (1949–53), working first in the style of Socialist Realism. During his period at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf he undertook self-imposed repetitive exercises such as archery, and he modelled his first relief-form paintings by hand. In 1957 he made his first relief structures with nails leading to works such as White Picture (nails on canvas on wood, 1959; Krefeld, Kaiser-Wilhelm Mus.). He also incorporated corks (e.g. Cork Picture Light Medium, 1960; Düsseldorf, Kstmus.) and cardboard tubes set into the surface of the painting. The nailed picture became the antithesis of the painted picture; it allowed Uecker to explore the articulation of light through the shadows created by the nails, the unchanging ritual of hammering and the violation of taboo surfaces. In 1958 he began to work on circular nail formations, leading in 1961 to his rotating nailed illuminated discs....

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

M. N. Sokolov

( Nikolayevich )

(b Skobelev [now Fergana], Aug 19, 1886; d Tashkent, Dec 17, 1957).

Russian painter and draughtsman, active in Uzbekistan. He trained at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts (1908–10) under Vladimir Makovsky and at the Kiev Art School (1912–16) under Fyodor Krichevsky (1879–1947), then moved to Tashkent. Characteristic of Volkov’s early work are Art Nouveau features, as in Persian Woman (Moscow, Mus. Orient. A.). The influence of Cubism is combined with the ornamental flatness of Central Asian art in the Eastern Primitive series (1918–20; Moscow, Mus. Orient. A. and artist’s family’s col.). His monumental generalization of form and powerful colour harmonies, at times transformed into semi-abstract, futuristic rhythms, as in Caravan I (1922–3; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), attained a special symbolic significance in the Pomegranate Teahouse (1924; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), the artist’s best-known work. In Volkov’s hands scenes of rural labour typical of Socialist Realism (e.g. Girls with Cotton, 1932; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.) achieve a dignity comparable to that of the Mexican muralists. In later years Volkov’s work became more intimate, while retaining its power of expression and freshness of colour, as in ...

Article

A. V. Paramonov

( Viktorovich )

(b Yekaterinoslav [now Dnepropetrovsk], Dec 28, 1908; d Moscow, April 12, 1974).

Russian sculptor. He studied at art school in Rostov-on-Don (1921–30) and at the Academy of Arts in Leningrad (now St Petersburg; 1931–3). From 1939 to 1941 he was artistic manager of the experimental construction workshops of the Palace of Soviets in Moscow. He was on active service in World War II, and in 1943 he joined the M. B. Grekov Studio of Military Artists in Moscow.

Vuchetich’s works are distinguished by their academic romanticism, lofty pathos and dramatic grandeur. The monument to Soviet soldiers who fell in the battles against Fascism (bronze and granite, 1946–9; Berlin, Treptower Park; architect Yakov Belopol’sky (1916–91)) covers an area over 120 sq. m, and the entrance to the area is formed by two semicircular piazzas with monumental single arches. Placed centrally to the avenue is the sculpture The Motherland, which depicts symbolically a mother bearing both the loss of her children and the burdens of war. The main entrance is formed by two enormous lowered banners of red granite, next to which are two bronze genuflecting soldiers holding machine-guns. From the main entrance a panorama opens up off the cemetery, and along the central axis of the parterre in the direction of the main monument are five communal graves. Along both sides of these are eight light-grey stone sarcophagi, with carved bas-reliefs. The centre of the memorial is marked by a 13 m high bronze figure of a soldier, on a high artificial mound, with his left arm around a small girl and his right hand holding a lowered sword, having cut through a Fascist swastika. Inside the base is a memorial room, with a wall mosaic depicting the peoples of Europe laying wreaths on the graves of soldiers....

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

Ewa Mikina

(b Katovice, Silesia, July 23, 1924).

Polish sculptor . She studied at the Higher School of Plastic Arts, Sopot (1946–9), and at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw (1949–51). She made her début in the early 1950s with several award-winning monumental Socialist Realist sculptures, such as Miners (versions of 1952 and 1954) and Friendship (1952; Warsaw, Pal. Cult. & Sci.). She contributed two works, Mother and Protest, to the famous exhibition of 1955 at the Arsenal Gallery in Warsaw that marked the end of Socialist Realism in the visual arts. These compositions, along with Time of the Atom and Two from the second half of the 1950s, are mutilated, expressive forms, representing distant reminders of once-living human bodies that have undergone a catastrophe and wasted away. She progressed in the 1960s to abstract sculptures (e.g. Flame, 1966), forms composed from plaster of Paris or concrete on a metal skeleton. After the mid-1960s her works were based on the principle of dualism and dialogue, which extended to both forms and materials (the plasticity of metal juxtaposed to the rigidity of stone). During the late 1960s and 1970s the cycles ...