SOVIET ART – SOVIET SPORT at Sotheby’s, London,

 

SOVIET ART SOVIET SPORTA PIONEERING EXHIBITION OF SOVIET ART  FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE INSTITUTE OF RUSSIAN REALIST ART, MOSCOW

Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street, London, 19th – 21st December 2013, 2nd – 14th January 2014

Sergey A. Luchishkin (1902–1989) Parade at the Dynamo Stadium. 1936–1976 Oil on canvas. 70 by 103.5 сm Institute of Russian Realist Art

Sergey A. Luchishkin (1902–1989)
Parade at the Dynamo Stadium. 1936–1976
Oil on canvas. 70 by 103.5 сm
Institute of Russian Realist Art

This striking exhibition is presented by Sotheby’s, The Institute of Russian Realist Art and PromSvyazBank and consists of thirty five paintings, drawings and sculptures from the Institute’s collections.

Olga P. Vaulina (1902–1996) In a sports hall. 1930s Oil on canvas. 132 by 101 сm The ‘New Gallery’ Art Foundation

Olga P. Vaulina (1902–1996)
In a sports hall. 1930s
Oil on canvas. 132 by 101 сm
The ‘New Gallery’ Art Foundation

Sport was one of the great symbols of post- Revolutionary Russian ideology and a perfect subject for Socialist Realist Art.  The dedication, strength, teamsmanship, and quest for glory found in those participating in sport perfectly reflected the State’s views. This was emphasised by the fact that over many decades the Soviet people woke up daily to appropriate music and instructions on gymnastic exercises.  If this were not enough when you got to work or school there were more gymnastics to be done before you started work.  Those aged between ten and sixty were required to participate in sporting activities and were subject to annual examinations on them.

Viktor E. Popkov (1932–1974) Volleyball. 1968 Oil on paper and fiberboard. 32.5 by 47 сm Institute of Russian Realist Art

Viktor E. Popkov (1932–1974)
Volleyball. 1968
Oil on paper and fiberboard. 32.5 by 47 сm
Institute of Russian Realist Art

In some ways it seems strange that the Soviet Government, like the Tsars before them, expected their chosen artists to paint in the manner and style that they wished rather than in the artist’s own individual style.  Indeed, it was a dangerous path to veer away from the figurative art glorifying Soviet philosophy of life and could result in an artist being arrested and exiled for what was considered counter-revolutionary activity, as for example actually happened to the artist Mikhail Sokolov.

Boris F. Domashnikov (1924–2003) The Stadium. 1970s Oil on cardboard. 50 by 34.8 сm Institute of Russian Realist Art

Boris F. Domashnikov (1924–2003)
The Stadium. 1970s
Oil on cardboard. 50 by 34.8 сm
Institute of Russian Realist Art

Paradoxically in sporting art a little leeway was allowed and one comes across elements of Impressionism and avant-garde in some works.  Indeed, it made sport a popular subject for some artists. One leading Soviet era artist Alexander Deyneka summed it up saying “Sport has one wonderful feature: it can safely fit into a very wide variety of artistic frameworks. This subject is inexhaustible because it is democratic and popular. Sport accommodates within itself shades of feeling – it is lyrical, it is positive and full of optimism. It draws on heroic origins.”

Alexander A. Deyneka (1899–1969) Sports woman tying a ribbon. 1950s Charcoal and sanguine on paper . 99 by 79 сm Institute of Russian Realist Art

Alexander A. Deyneka (1899–1969)
Sports woman tying a ribbon. 1950s
Charcoal and sanguine on paper . 99 by 79 сm
Institute of Russian Realist Art

This show provides a rare chance to see Soviet Art in the UK and provides a fascinating glimpse into the Soviet era and way of  life.

Olga P. Vaulina (1902–1996) Wrestling 1930s Oil on canvas. 112.5 by 88.5 сm The ‘New Gallery’ Art Foundation

Olga P. Vaulina (1902–1996)
Wrestling 1930s
Oil on canvas. 112.5 by 88.5 сm
The ‘New Gallery’ Art Foundation

http://www.sothebys.com

Viktor E. Popkov (1932–1974) At the Weekend. 1958 Colour linocut on paper. 49.7 by 83 сm Property of the artist’s family

Viktor E. Popkov (1932–1974)
At the Weekend. 1958
Colour linocut on paper. 49.7 by 83 сm
Property of the artist’s family

Mikhail N. Izotov (born 1956) Gymnasts . Portrait of Vladimir Artemov and Yury Korolyov 1987 Oil on canvas. 175.5 by 149 сm Institute of Russian Realist Art

Mikhail N. Izotov (born 1956)
Gymnasts . Portrait of Vladimir Artemov and Yury Korolyov
1987
Oil on canvas. 175.5 by 149 сm
Institute of Russian Realist Art

Andrey N. Bliok (born 1946) Fest ival of the North in Kirovsk . 1972 Tempera on canvas. 60 by 80.2 сm Institute of Russian Realist Art

Andrey N. Bliok (born 1946)
Fest ival of the North in Kirovsk . 1972
Tempera on canvas. 60 by 80.2 сm
Institute of Russian Realist Art

One comment on “SOVIET ART – SOVIET SPORT at Sotheby’s, London,

  1. […] To get the impressions of another visitor, check out the blog post Soviet art – Soviet sport at Sotheby’s, London. […]

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