Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to present Alexander Zhitomirsky: Photomontages 1931-1973, the first exhibition in New York featuring artwork by the “Soviet Heartfield.” Nailya Alexander Gallery is located at 24 W. 57th Street, #501, NYC, 10019. Gallery hours are Tues.‐Sat., 11 a.m.‐6 p.m.
Alexander Zhitomirsky (1907‐1993) was one of the key artists who developed the art of political photomontage and is named one of the greatest masters of the genre by the Soviet Encyclopedia (1977) alongside Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzky and Gustav Klutsis. Zhitomirsky moved to Moscow in 1925, where he studied with I.I. Mashkov at the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia until 1929 and continued his education in V.A. Favorsky’s class until 1931. During that time he illustrated a number of magazines and created posters as well as personal work. In 1930 Zhitomirsky started working for the Rabochaya Gazeta [Workers’ Newspaper] as a caricaturist and became the art director of both Industria Sotsializma [Socialist Industry] and Illustrirovannaya Gaseta [Illustrated Newspaper]. Zhitomirsky was influenced by the explosive effect of John Heartfield's photomontages on the pages of Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung and Rote Fahne, the leftist German publications which were being widely sold on news stands in Moscow in the late twenties and early thirties, though he only met him in person in 1957.
During WWII Zhitomirsky designed and illustrated a wide variety of publications for the front, including Front Illustrierte (1941‐1945), a magazine specially targeted to German soldiers and produced in German, Italian, Finnish, Romanian, Hungarian, and other languages. From 1950 through 1992, Zhitomirsky worked as the head art director of Soviet Union, a magazine published in more than 20 languages. Throughout the Cold War period Zhitomirsky created powerful propaganda photomontages on peace, disarmament, capitalist values, government leaders, and other themes dear to the Soviet regime. In 1967 he was named an Honorary Artist of the Russian Federation and in 1978 he received the title of People’s Artist of Russia. Zhitomirsky works are found in the collections of such museums as the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow; and the Museum of German History, Berlin, Germany. The new book Alexander Zhitomirsky: Personal Collages 1931-1935 is available at the gallery.