Thursday, January 23, 2014

Russian Placards

Propaganda lithographs from 
'Russian Placards, Placard Russe 1917-1922' 
by Vladimir Lebedev, 1923

"The activities of the painter, designer, illustrator, and constructivist, Vladimir Lebedev, encompass a very broad period: from the early 1910s through to the early 1960s, and, consequently, his stylistic [oeuvre] connects with many different trends and avenues of inquiry. In fact, Lebedev started his artistic career as a graphic designer when he was only 14 years old by designing postcards for the Fietta Art Store on the Bolshaia Morskaia in St. Petersburg (his home town); and only a few years later he was already a prolific illustrator of popular and children's magazines[..]

Consciousness of the material of the work (the ink, the print, the lightness of the paper, the brilliant color of the poster's chromolithography) is [..] a condition that unites the various artistic experiences and concerns of Lebedev's career. For example, Lebedev's activity as a caricaturist for the St. Petersburg satirical journal, 'Novyi Satirikon' (New Satyricon) might seem to be quite contrary to his experimental compositions for the posters that he designed for Okna ROSTA (the display windows of the Russian Telegraph Agency) just after the Revolution. 
Chronologically, no more than two years divide these different endeavors since Lebedev began to work for 'Novyi Satirikon' in 1913, intensifying his contributions in 1917-18, while in 1920 he was already invited to participate in the Petrograd Okna ROSTA. Visually and stylistically, the two collaborations are very different, but, nevertheless, they both derive from a single sense of the integrity and inner logic of the graphic materials being employed."
['A Public Art: Caricatures and Posters of Vladimir Lebedev' by Nicoletta Misler IN: The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Vol. 5, Russian/Soviet Theme Issue (Summer, 1987), pp. 60-75.]

Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - The lamentation of the Entente
The lamentation of the Entente



Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - The union of village and town (workman and villager)
The union of village and town (workman and villager)



Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - The red vision of Communism...(..)
The red vision of Communism is brushing over Europe. 
The placard represents the bourgeois saving themselves from two workmen.



Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - The Red Army and Navy defending Russia's borders
The Red Army and Navy defending Russia's borders.



Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - The new bourgeoisie In the Republic of labour (threat to the proletarian State)
The new bourgeoisie In the Republic of labour (threat to the proletarian State)




Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - The Entente gives suck to Koltchak...(..)
The Entente gives suck to Koltchak. Entente— a puppit (sic) 
decorated with a garland and the Tower of Eiffel, 
the latter with British and French flags on It. Koltchak 
in a three-cornered a pistol case on his back.



Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - Productive propaganda. A caster with a casting spoon in his hands, a mould in the left corner
Productive propaganda. 
A caster with a casting spoon in his hands, a mould in the left corner.



Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - Agitation for utilizing the bourgeoisie...(..)
Agitation for utilizing the bourgeoisie for proletarian purpose. 
The bourgeois in a grey top-hat and apron waits 
upon the workman (feeds him with fish).



Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - Agitation for the closing of markets...(..)
Agitation for the closing of markets- "the marauder in heaven and the simpleton in hell". 
The placard represents an owner of a market- stall sitting in a grand house 
at a table with provisions and a gramophone standing on it, 
while a starving citisen under the table is defending the markets.



Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - A work-woman...(..)
A work-woman. (Raising productivity through joining 
together small hand-working and trade industries).



Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - A workman with nationalised entreprises in his hands
A workman with nationalised entreprises in his hands.



Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - A workman sweeping the criminal elements out of the Republic (work conrol)
A workman sweeping the criminal elements out of the Republic (work conrol).



Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - A marauder at a stall with wares (the struggle against sale in the streets)
A marauder at a stall with wares (the struggle against sale in the streets).



Russian placards, 1917-1922 (Vladimir Lebedev) - A bourgeois tearing his hair...(..)
A bourgeois tearing his hair on account of the 
second meeting of the International Congress.

"In contradistinction to the satirical drawings of 1913-18, which, basically, still derive from the Decadent culture of the European and Russian Fin de Siècle, the ROSTA posters of 1920-22
rely on different external stimuli. These examples of "public art" are organized according to the juxtaposition of simple colored masses floating against the white background of the paper, i.e., they depend upon a much more abstract and austere formal arrangement for their effect. 
True, some of the ROSTA posters are also satirical and caricatural, but they are very different from the drawings in 'Novyi Satirikon'. For many reasons, they signalled a turning point in Lebedev's artistic biography, and it is not by chance that they evolved after his encounter with cubism."
['A Public Art: Caricatures and Posters of Vladimir Lebedev' by Nicoletta Misler IN: The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Vol. 5, Russian/Soviet Theme Issue (Summer, 1987), pp. 60-75.]
{for clarity, some very minor grammatical changes  were made to the quotes by Misler}


2 comments :

Jane Librizzi said...

It wouldn't have pleased those who called European art "decadent" but my immediate reaction to these images was how cute they are. They are charming. Thank you.

Roger_Paw said...

Thank you for keeping this wonderful blog going! Your hard work is much appreciated. One of these days I'll create my own little postcards, bookplates, and bookmarks for family and friends. In the meantime, I'll drool over what you share with us.

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