Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New catalogs at the Masters of Soviet Art website.

From time to time, I reintroduce my friend Allan Gamborg. He's Danish by birth, a longtime resident of Moscow, and truly a citizen of the planet.

Allan has enjoyed much success in his "second" (third? fifth?) career as a purveyor and advocate of Soviet-era art and artists. You can use the handy Blogger search here at NAC, use "Gamborg" as the search term, and see previous postings. These days, the website is called Masters of Soviet Art, and it's always worth a few minutes to peruse the art. You need not be a Commie to enjoy the links to Allan's on-line galleries.

As in the past, permit me to thank Allan for his boundless hospitality and for allowing me to share his latest links.


Dear Friends,

In February we will issue a new catalogue (number 6) in the series “Master of Soviet Art” – with the artists Vera and Tatyana Livanova: Socialist posters, circus posters and costumes, theatre stage designs and costumes, film set designs, Siberian landscapes and power plants.

As a pre-view teaser, we can show – on our website -  the images of the art-work that will be included the catalogue. Please see below – and do look forward to the catalogue !

VERA LIVANOVA (1910-1998) 
Vera Matveevna Livanova was born in Moscow. Her mother was Natalia Valeryavnovna Lyubavskaya (born Zyzykina), and her father was Matvey Kuzmich Lyubavsky - historian, professor and chancellor at the Moscow State University before the Revolution. In 1930 she graduated from the Theater Design department of the Vkhutein art institute - among her teachers were three icons of pre-war Soviet art, Gennady Gerasimov, Lev Bruni and Piotr Konchalovsky. Her style as a poster artist was shaped under the guidance of well-known masters of early Soviet art Aleksandr Deineka, Yuri Pimenov and Vladimir Tatlin. Vera Matveevna started her career as a professional artist in Perm doing theater designs. After two years in Perm she moved to Kiev where she started working as a poster artist. In 1936 Vera Livanova settled down in Moscow and in 1938 she became a member of the Moscow Union of Artists. Being very productive, from 1937 to 1968 Vera Livanova worked as a poster artist for the “Izogiz” and “Soviet Artist” publishing houses. In the period from 1958 to 1968 she carried out commissions for “Agitplakat”.At the beginning of her career with “Izogiz”, Livanova’s posters focused on topics related to the rise of agricultural and industrial standards under the Soviet regime. Common topics were those connected with elections, anniversaries and other political events celebrated by the Soviet ideology. Her posters show her mastery as a colourist, not being afraid of innovative colour solutions. During World War II Vera Livanova’s work focused on mass propaganda themes. The first poster announcing the defeat of fascist Germany was created by her. After the war Livanova turned to the concept of post-war reconstruction of Soviet agriculture. She also published posters dealing with elections, with titles such as “Elections to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR” and “The Constitution of the USSR”.Livanova’s posters of the fifties demonstrate the artist’s fascination with the traditional Russian “lubok”. Her series of posters dedicated to Moscow’s 800th anniversary depict a composition and a range of colours very much alike the style of popular lubok images. The sixties focused on international themes. Slogans such as “Freedom to Africa!”, “May. Peace. Labour!”, “Peace and Happiness for the World!” are typical of that period. Through her career Vera Livanova traveled extensively in the Soviet Union - all documented in her masterful pencil drawings and gouaches. Destinations were Khosta in 1957, Gurzuf and the Crimea in the 1960s, and the developing Siberia of the1960s - Divnogorsk, the Enisei river, and the construction of the Krasnoyarsk hydro power plant in Dudinka.Vera Livanova and her husband German Livanov, architect and theater director, provided a significant artistic inspiration for their daughter Tatyana, and Vera Matveevna designed several posters together with her daughter. 

Tatyana Germanovna Livanova was born in Perm. Her father German Livanov was an architect and theater director, and her mother, Vera Livanova, was a famous Soviet poster artist. She graduated as a designer from the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow. During her career, Livanova has been working as a set and costume design artist for the circus, cinema, ballet and drama, as well as for TV productions. Livanova formed herself as an artist under the guidance of outstanding masters, such as Yuri Pimenov, Grigory Schegal and Joseph Shpinel. Her graduation work was set designs for the film by Nikolai Pogodin “The Kremlin Chiming Clock”, and her first official assignment after graduation was costumes to the film “A War Secret”.In the early 1960s she designed  costumes, posters and programs for the Soviet State Circus. During that period she designed several political posters, together with her mother Vera Livanova. All through her career, she designed sets and costumes for a large number of films, e.g. the Mosfilm productions “Summerfolks” (Maksim Gorky), “The Youth is with Us”, “The Only Way”, “The Birds Fly North”, and the TV productions “Two Captains” and “Truth Is Good But Happiness Is Better“ (Alexander Ostrovsky).Tatyana Germanovna considered the most important period of her career was her work with director Boris Babochkin at the Maly Theater, for example with the Ostrovsky plays “Truth Is Good But Happiness Is Better“and “A Profitable Place”, the Maksim Gorky plays “Dostigayev and Others” and “Counterfeit Money”. She also did designs for “Zar Potap” (Alexander Kapkov), “Mother’s Field” (Chingiz Aitmatov), “The Road To Calvary” (Aleksei Tolstoy), “The Wedding” (Mikhail Zoshchenko), “The Glass  Menagerie” (Tennessee Williams), “The Comedy of Errors” (William Shakespeare), and about 20 more plays. Livanova prepared costumes and stage designs for the Tatar State Theater of Opera and Ballet’s production of “Sleeping Beauty” (Peter Chaikovsky), and for the ballet “Leili and Medzhyn” (Sergei Balasanyan).

Enjoy the shows !

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