In honor of the centenary of the October 1917 coup, large museum institutions are holding exhibitions of Russian art throughout Europe. The Royal Academy of Arts has a grandiose exhibition, which contains works by Russian artists created in the period from 1917 to 1932. That is, from the time of the revolution itself until the moment when Stalin finally suppressed all avant-garde trends.
The authors of the exhibition were Anne Dumas, curator of the Royal Academy of Arts, John Milner, and Natalie Murray, specialists in Russian art at the Courtauld Institute. The exhibition includes works by Chagall, Kandinsky, Malevich (more than 30 canvases and architects), Tatlin, Brodsky, Deineka, Mukhina, Samokhvalov. A special hall is dedicated to Petrov-Vodkin. A large body of paintings is complemented by photography, sculptures, films, posters, and porcelain. Taken together, it gives an idea of what the art of the 1920s breathed, energetic, diverse, extremely experimental, and innovative. Never before have British curators combined avant-garde and socialist realism in the same row. The exhibition project includes more than 200 works from famous museum collections, including from the Tretyakov Gallery and the State Russian Museum.
The curators emphasize the importance of the participation of private collectors, it is they who make the exhibition unique. Moreover, many works are exhibited in Great Britain for the first time. One of the guidelines for the curators was the 1932 exhibition put together by the Russian art critic Nikolai Punin at the State Russian Museum in Leningrad. Of course, art is inscribed in a socio-political context, without which it is difficult to understand the gripping drama that lasted fifteen post-revolutionary years and ended with Stalin’s socialist realism.
The exhibition “Revolution. Russian Art 1917-1932 “was held on April 17, 2017.