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Soviet Women and Their Art

The Spirit of Equality

The Soviet regime was an oppressive environment for artists of many stripes, but perhaps especially so for women, already an underprivileged class. Despite the decades of turmoil and governmental hostility towards art, many women managed to create indelible works, both in and out of the officially sanctioned frameworks for expression. Soviet Women and Their Art is the first comprehensive look at the importance of female artists in the USSR, spanning the years immediately after World War I to the final dissolution of the union in 1991 and including contributions by five experts in the field of Russian and Soviet Art.

In the 1910s and '20s, women led the way in the emerging avant-garde movements, only to be driven to the sidelines in the Stalin years, where they often toiled in obscurity as illustrators or stage designers. The perestroika of the 1980s brought with it a new wave of nonconformist art, much of it created by women. The essays here—accompanied by one hundred color illustrations—cover major events in Soviet history, art, and culture, taking a close look at the role gender politics played in the ebb and flow of opportunities for female artists in twentieth-century Russia.

224 pages | 100 color plates | 6 1/2 x 9 | © 2019

Art: Art--General Studies

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"This beautifully designed, multidisciplinary book is dedicated to art created by and about women in 20th-century Russia. It includes more than 100 color prints and six thematic chapters—all by leading specialists in the field—on topics ranging in historical scope from the pre-revolutionary avant-garde to the role of women in the Moscow conceptualism movement of the 1970s and 1980s. One chapter is dedicated to the depiction of ballerinas in Russian art, another to the sculpting of the female body. In terms of criticism, the authors engage with Russian studies and women’s and gender studies as well as art history. The introduction places Russian women artists in broad historical and cultural context and in the context of suffragist movements elsewhere in Europe. The art included captures Russian women everywhere they could be found: in the workplace, in the home, in the fields, at the barre, in their automobiles, and on the battlefields. The book concludes with profiles of 12 artists, including both the well-known (Vera Mukhina, Lyubov Popova) and less-familiar but equally talented painters and sculptors. Affordable in terms of the number and quality of prints included, this book will be valuable for both course work and personal use. . . . Highly recommended."


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