Arkady Shaikhet, Boris Ignatovich, Alexander Rodchenko, Georgy Petrusov: Masters of 20th Century Soviet Avant-Garde Photography

Arkady Shaikhet, Boris Ignatovich, Alexander Rodchenko, Georgy Petrusov: Masters of 20th Century Soviet Avant-Garde Photography


Masters of Early 20th-Century Soviet Photography presents a rare selection of vintage gelatin-silver prints from the latter group, including work by such luminaries as Boris Ignatovich (1899-1976), Aleksandr Rodchenko (1891-1956), Arkady Shaikhet (1898-1959), and Georgy Petrusov (1903-1971). These artists reached the zenith of their careers immediately after the 1917 Russian Revolution, during a historic moment of creative freedom and development. They left an indelible mark on the history of their medium, introducing to photography fresh perspectives and experimental forms that reflected the radical changes transforming the world around them.

On view are not only some of the most iconic photographs of the era, but some of the highest-quality printmaking, whereby meticulous attention to light, tone, and texture has transformed each image into a unique and exquisite object of art. These include images both of and by the great artists of the period: a vintage gelatin silver print of one of Aleksandr

Rodchenko’s earliest photographs, Portrait of Vladimir Mayakovsky (1924), captures the enigmatic poet who famously commanded his audience in 1917 to “throw Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc., etc., overboard from the Ship of Modernity”; and perhaps the only existing exhibition-size photograph of Sergei Eisenstein shows the filmmaker relaxing on the throne of Tsar Nicholas II during the production of October (1928). As scholar Marie Seton writes, “With the mock gesture of His Majesty waving his hand, [Eisenstein] ordered photographs to be taken of himself in his role of iconoclastic emperor of a new art form.” The photographers Boris Kudoyarov and Dmitry Debabov are caricatured in Georgy Petrusov’s 1934 portraits, which reveal not only a playful sense of humor but a shared spirit of innovation and irreverence.

Other photographs depict the revolution in industry, architecture, and labor that was sweeping the nation, such as Arkady Shaikhet’s Construction of the Globe at the Moscow Telegraph (1928), which El Lissitzky superimposed onto the body of a factory worker in a photocollage created for the International Hygiene Exhibition Soviet pavilion in Dresden in 1930. Georgy Petrusov’s Lunch in the Fields and Harvest (1934) illustrate daily life and labor on the newly developing collective farms. The exhibition also includes two extraordinary vintage gelatin-silver prints by the great master Boris Ignatovich. Youth (1937) celebrates the joy and energy of early adolescence with a close-up, triangular composition perfectly corresponding to the rounded shape of the camera lens; while Motherhood (1938) is both poignant and daring due to its creation during the time of the Stalinist purges.

Arkady Shaikhet, Boris Ignatovich, Alexander Rodchenko, Georgy Petrusov
Masters of 20th Century Soviet Avant-Garde Photography
March 27 – May 11, 2019

Nailya Alexander Gallery
41 East 57th Street, Suite 704, New York, NY, United States
nailyaalexandergallery.com

Arkady Shaikhet (1898-1959)  Express, 1939  Vintage gelatin silver print  15 11/16 x 21 1/4 in. (39.8 x 53.9 cm)  Title and date in Russian in pencil on verso  Photographer's stamp and signature on verso

Arkady Shaikhet (1898-1959), Express, 1939, Vintage gelatin silver print, 15 11/16 x 21 1/4 in. (39.8 x 53.9 cm) Title and date in Russian in pencil on verso, Photographer’s stamp and signature on verso

Boris Ignatovich (1899-1976)  Youth, 1937  Vintage gelatin silver print mounted on board  16 1/2 x 21 15/16 in. (41.9 x 55.7 cm)

Boris Ignatovich (1899-1976), Youth, 1937, Vintage gelatin silver print mounted on board, 16 1/2 x 21 15/16 in. (41.9 x 55.7 cm)

Sergey Shimansky (1898-1972)  Navy Fleet, Black Sea (men from Sevastopol), 1930s  Vintage gelatin silver print  15 x 22 7/8 in. (38.1 x 58.1 cm)  Title and date in Cyrillic on verso

Sergey Shimansky (1898-1972), Navy Fleet, Black Sea (men from Sevastopol), 1930s, Vintage gelatin silver print, 15 x 22 7/8 in. (38.1 x 58.1 cm), Title and date in Cyrillic on verso

Attributed to Alexander Sigaev (1893-1973)  Sergei Eisenstein enthroned during the production of October (1928), 1927  Vintage gelatin silver print  20 x 15 3/4 in. (50.8 x 40.0 cm)

Attributed to Alexander Sigaev (1893-1973), Sergei Eisenstein enthroned during the production of October (1928), 1927, Vintage gelatin silver print, 20 x 15 3/4 in. (50.8 x 40.0 cm)

Georgy Petrusov (1903-1971)  Caricature Portrait of Boris Kudoyarov, 1934  Vintage gelatin silver print

Georgy Petrusov (1903-1971), Caricature Portrait of Boris Kudoyarov, 1934, Vintage gelatin silver print,

Boris Ignatovich (1899-1976)  Motherhood, 1938  Vintage gelatin silver print mounted on board

Boris Ignatovich (1899-1976), Motherhood, 1938, Vintage gelatin silver print mounted on board

Georgy Petrusov (1903-1971)  Caricature Portrait of Dmitrii Debabov, 1934  Vintage gelatin silver print

Georgy Petrusov (1903-1971), Caricature Portrait of Dmitrii Debabov, 1934, Vintage gelatin silver print

Georgy Petrusov (1903-1971)  Harvest, 1934  Vintage gelatin silver print

Georgy Petrusov (1903-1971), Harvest, 1934, Vintage gelatin silver print

Georgy Petrusov (1903-1971)  Lunch in the Fields, 1934  Vintage gelatin silver print

Georgy Petrusov (1903-1971), Lunch in the Fields, 1934, Vintage gelatin silver print


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