An auction of paintings and drawings No. 7 will be held at Bidspirit.
Leningrad easel lithography
Author's lithography has been widely developed in Leningrad since the 1930s after the organization of the Leningrad Regional Union of Soviet Artists. The main work on artistic lithography was carried out in the Leningrad Regional Union of Soviet Artists, as well as in the Academy of Arts.
In Leningrad there were all fundamental prerequisites for this. At the beginning of the 19th century, scientific publications on the art and technology of lithography appeared in the capital of Russia St. Petersburg. And already in 1816 the first Russian lithography appeared, made by the artist A.O. Orlovsky. Using printing from stone, technical documents were then produced. Lithographic workshops were created, which also contributed to the spread of easel lithography.
An important role in supporting and popularizing the art of lithography was played by the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, created in 1820, which promoted and supported art, and was the first in Russia to publish an album of lithographs «Collection of Views of St. Petersburg and its environs» with a circulation of 350 copies.
During the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, a large number of lithographed publications, albums, book illustrations, portraits, and cartoons were released in St. Petersburg. Widely used and reproduction lithography. It was the most democratic form of acquaintance of the public with art. In the technique of lithography released his famous "Russian art leaflet" V.F. Timm, illustrated Russian literature and released albums with genre drawings by A. I. Lebedev.
With the advent of new printing technologies, the emphasis in lithography has shifted to the author. Easel lithographs and illustrations were performed by I.I. Shishkin, V. E. Makovsky, S. V. Ivanov, I. E. Repin, A. and V. Vasnetsov, I. I. Levitan, V. A. Serov, L. S. Bakst and other famous artists.
The initiators and active participants in the mass development of the art of lithography in the USSR in Petrograd and Leningrad were the outstanding Russian Soviet artists G. S. Vereisky, B. M. Kustodiev, D. N. Kardovsky, N. A. Tyrsa, A. P. Ostroumova-Lebedeva , in the 1930s, young artists, graduates of the Academy of Arts, joined them.
The lithography workshop in the 1930s – 1950s was located in the building of the Imperial Society for the Promotion of Arts, which was transferred to the Leningrad Organization of the Union of Artists Union, with an entrance from 83 Moika Embankment. What is worth recalling in this 2020, when the Imperial Society for the Encouragement of Arts, which has made a great contribution to the development and support of the art of lithography.
Before the Union of Artists, the Soviet government set the enlightening task «Art - to the masses!» Favorable conditions were created for the implementation of this task, and lithographic technology and art were perfectly suited for this. A system of remuneration of artists was organized. Lithographs were distributed in sanatoriums and rest houses under construction, kindergartens, schools and pioneer camps, cultural palaces, clubs and libraries, and military units. Created art salons for the sale of works by members of the Union of Artists and Masters of Folk Art.
The high level of artistic works, a variety of subjects, as well as affordability for the masses of the population, thanks to the possibilities of producing large runs, have made lithography mass and beloved. In addition to easel lithographs, many well-known artists have joined the state program for publishing illustrated books of classical literature and books for children in the specially created publishing house “Children's Literature Publishing House”.
In the 1930s, real masterpieces of easel lithography and book illustration, the golden fund of Leningrad art were created in Leningrad. These works were created by the most talented artists V.V. Lebedev, Yu. A. Vasnetsov, D. E. Zagoskin, I. M. Etz, M. A. Aslamazyan, V. I. Kurdov, E. I. Charushin, A. N Kaplan, A. V. Kaplun, V. M. Konashevich, N. I. Kostrov, E. A. Kibrik, N. F. Lapshin, A. F. Pakhomov, Yu. N. Petrov, K. I. Rudakov, A. N. Samokhvalov, Yu. A. Syrnev, V. A. Tambi, L. Ya. Timoshenko, N. A. Tyrsa, A. N. Jacobson.
During the Great Patriotic War, during the defense of Leningrad, in the lithographic workshop of the Union of Artists, unique posters of the Battle Pencil were made, wonderful postcards were issued in the lithographic way.
Easel lithography in Leningrad was of a high artistic level, both due to the talent and work of artists, and thanks to a well-organized ordering system, the conditions for the creation and distribution of works. In the lithography workshop, older artists passed on their creative experience and techniques to young artists. In the workshop, artistic experiments were encouraged, there was a friendly atmosphere. Creative portraits of cultural figures, politicians, workers, scientists, geologists, sailors, and rural workers were created. A series of lithographs were published on the events of Russian and Soviet history, views of cities and villages, landscapes, live scenes of labor and life of Soviet people. The direction of art for children was especially distinguished.
In the lithography workshop built in 1963 in the House of the Union of Artists on Pesochnaya Embankment, a galaxy of artists worked on the possibilities of such democratic art, addressed to thousands of people. Both graphic artists and painters worked in lithography, who brought to this art special techniques for using color and applying paint with a brush. The workshop was supervised by the graphics section of the Leningrad Regional Union of Artists and the Combine of Graphic Arts.
In Leningrad, unique prints in lithographic technique were made in the amount of about 20 prints, on them the author put his signature, name of the work, number of the print and their total number on a pencil (for example: 3/20; this means print number 3, a total of 20 lithographs were made). The first prints are considered especially valuable, but for lithography this is not so important, since high-quality prints of up to thousands of copies can be made from stone. For distribution through art salons and the art lottery, easel lithographs in the USSR were usually printed with a circulation of 500 copies. In this case, the author wrote on the impression with a pencil only the name of the work and put the signature. Prints were delivered to salons in a fringing, with labels, in frames, and, if necessary, in cases.
Peacetime artists of the 1950s and 1980s continued the wonderful traditions of their predecessors in the prewar and wartime periods. Among the works of older artists, one can single out lithographs by I. S. Astapov, M. N. Butrova, G. S. Vereisky, V. A. Vlasov, M. I. Kuks, A. N. Kaplan, A. S. Vedernikov, V. F. Matyukh, V. A. Vetrogonsky, M. C. Charnetskaya, A. Z. Davydov, B. N. Ermolaev, V. A. Tambi, V. S. Vilner, lithographs of middle-generation artists V. M. Menshikova, E.Yu. Vasnetsova, V.A. Emelyanova, O.G. Kukushkina, O.Yu. Yakhnina, N.V. Klimushkina, B.P. Zabirokhina, L.K. Escaraeva, N.I. Domashenko, T.A. Kozmina, Yu.K. Lyukshina, S.M. Bely, M.S. Karasika and other masters.
V.S. Vilner invented his special technique similar to lithographic, introducing new pictorial and compositional techniques into Leningrad lithography. In recent years, instead of stone, he began to use plastic, which has the necessary properties, and achieved brilliant results.
Many lithographs by Leningrad artists were acquired by the State Russian Museum; several major exhibitions of Russian and Soviet lithographs were held in it; the museum had a fund for organizing traveling exhibitions of lithographs. There are lithographs in the collections of the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg, the Central Exhibition Hall "Manege", other St. Petersburg museums, and in the collections of the St. Petersburg Union of Artists.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, with the collapse of the USSR, the liquidation of the Art Fund of the RSFSR and the USSR, the mass art of lithography was curtailed both in Leningrad - St. Petersburg, and throughout Russia.
Easel lithographs of the Leningrad period in St. Petersburg can only be seen at temporary exhibitions organized by museums and collectors, and after 50 years, a significant number of original bright works have been created that reflect the great era of creation, feat, wealth and beauty of life in their native city and country .
Leningrad easel lithography is a unique phenomenon in the art of the USSR, Russia and deserves to be studied, collected and widely shown to modern viewers.
Association of Art Critics, Union of Artists of Russia
St. Petersburg, 2020