Kirghiz Woman, 1936

Portrait of Kirghiz Woman, 1936
Vintage gelatin silver print
14 1/4 x 9 5/8 in. (36.2 x 24.4 cm)
Label of exhibition in Boston in 1939 in English on verso

Emmanuil Evzerikhin
Girl with Oar (sculpture in the Central Park of Culture, Moscow), 1936
Gelatin silver print, printed later
7 ¾ x 11 ½ in. (19.7 x 29.2 cm)
Photographer’s stamp on verso

Arkady Shaikhet
Morning Exercises, 1927
Gelatin silver print
6 ¾ x 9 in. (17.1 x 22.9 cm)
Photographer’s stamp and signature on verso

Alexander Rodchenko
Dynamo Sports Club (from the series “Sport parade on Red Square”), 1932
Printed 1970s
Gelatin silver print
7 7/8 x 11 ½ in. (20 x 29.2 cm)
Provenance: Liliya Ukhtomskaya Collection

Arkady Shaikhet
Express, 1939
Vintage gelatin silver print
Photographer’s stamp and signature in blue pencil on verso, title in Cyrillic and date in pencil on verso
15 11/16 x 21 1/4 inches

Semyon Fridlyand
Kirghiz Cavalry Fighter, 1937
Vintage gelatin silver print
16 ½ x 11 in. (41.9 x 27.9 cm)
Photographer’s signature and date in pencil on verso

Arkady Shaikhet
Komsomol Member at the Wheel, 1929
Gelatin silver print, printed 1960s
15 ½ x 11 ½ in. (39.4 x 29.2 cm)
Borodulin stamp at upper right; library archive stamp at lower left; date (1931/2) and title in Russian in pencil

Construction of the Dneprostroy Dam, 1932
Gelatin silver print
11 5/8 x 8 in. (29.5 x 20.3 cm)
Lubomir Linhart Collection stamp on verso

Georgy Zelma
Moscow Volga Canal, 1937
Gelatin silver print
6 ½ x 9 3/8 in. (16.1 x 23.5 cm)
Signed and titled on verso

Max Penson
Pilots, 1930s
Vintage gelatin silver print
6 x 9 in. (15.2 x 22.9 cm)

Max Penson (1893-1948)
Happy Childhood, Uzbekistan, 1930s
Vintage gelatin silver print
12 x 17 in. (30.5 x 43.2 cm)

Arkady Shaikhet
Reading House, 1924
Gelatin silver print
6 7/8 x 9 in. (17.5 x 22.9 cm)
Photographer's stamp, signature, and title on verso

Alexander Rodchenko
Untitled (from series on lumber mill in Vakhtan for USSR in Construction), 1930
Vintage gelatin silver print
4 ¾ x 6 ¾ inches (12.07 x 17.15 cm)
Identified and dated "1931" in an unknown hand in pencil with "Foto Rodchenko" stamp (twice) on print verso.

Paratroopers, 1939-1940

Paratroopers: Preparations to an Air Force Parade in Tushino for the Celebration of the All-Union Day of Soviet Aviation, August, 1939-1940
Vintage gelatin silver print
22 x 12 in. (56 x 30.5 cm)
Signed by artist on verso

Portrait of Alexsandr Rodchenko, 1933-1934
Gelatin silver print, printed later
9 ½ x 12 7/8 in. (24.1 x 32.7 cm)
Signed by Petrusov’s wife

Large-Bore Cannon, Baltic Fleet, 1935
Gelatin silver print, printed 1960s
11 ¼ x 8 7/8 in. (28.6 x 22.5 cm)
Photographer’s stamp and publishing house Iskusstvo stamp on verso

Boris Ignatovich
May Day, Moscow: Large Wheel, May 1, 1932
Decorations designed by Gustav Klutsis
Gelatin silver print
2 x 3 3/16 in. (5.2 x 8.2 cm)

Family of Kolkhoz Farmer, 1930s
Vintage gelatin silver print
16 x 11 in. (40.6 x 27.9 cm)
Signed and titled by artist on verso

Sculptor Vera Mukhina, 1948
Vintage gelatin silver print
11 x 8 ¾ in. (27.9 x 22.2 cm)
Signed and stamped on verso

Unknown artist
Cigarette Girl, Krasnaya Niva, July 27, 1925
Vintage gelatin silver print
6 ¾ x 4 ¾ in. (17.1 x 12.1 cm)
Stamp on verso: "Krasnaya Niva ["Red Field," an illustrated journal published weekly in USSR from 1923-1931]. No. 33/23 No. 1212. July 27, 1925.”

Alexander Zhitomirsky
Untitled (from an album dedicated to artist's wife Erika), c. 1932-1935
Collage
17 x 7.5 in. (43.2 x 44.5 cm)

Futile Precaution Ballet, Bolshoi Theater, Moscow, 1937
Vintage gelatin silver print
8 ½ x 16 inches

Skrijabin in Lukins Tanz (Scriabin in Lukin's dance), 1923
Vintage gelatin silver print on warm-toned matte paper
8 3/4 x 6 9/16 in.

Moisei Nappelbaum
Portrait of Nina Podgoretskaya, Ballet Dancer at the Bolshoi, 1934
Vintage gelatin silver print
14 ½ x 10 5/8 in. (36.8 x 27 cm)

Press Release

Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to present Soviet Photography: 1920s-1930s, opening Wednesday, September 9 from 6 – 8 PM at 41 East 57th Street, Suite 704. The exhibition runs through Saturday, October 24. Gallery hours are 11 AM – 6 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and by appointment.

Nearly a century ago, the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution shook the world, changing the course of history and the fate of photography in Russia. The decades that followed were a time of great experimentation in photography and film, as artists looked forward to a bright proletarian future powered by new media, mass production, and exciting technological advancements. Deviating from straightforward reportage, photographers began to experiment with collage, photomontage, constructivist compositions, and novel stylistic choices like dramatic angles and close-ups and unconventional framing.

Soviet photographers in the 1920s and 1930s created a new mythology, founded on vivid symbols of collective progress, patriotism, and self-sacrifice. Advancements in printing and publishing technologies led to the proliferation of magazines, journals, and posters, and allowed their images to reach vast, largely illiterate swaths of the Russian population, for whom the sight of modern machinery and massive military and athletic formations was an extraordinary revelation. Images like Arkady Shaikhet’s “Komsomol Member at the Wheel” (1929), which features a handsome youth in control of an imposing new machine; the powerful modern engine in “Express” (1939); and the jubilant sky in Emmanuil Evzerikhin’s “Paratroopers” (1939) gave voice to the optimism of the era and a widespread faith in industrial achievements. In this sense, the Soviet photographers of the 1920s and 1930s were true visionaries.

Most pioneers of Soviet photography came from Jewish backgrounds, including Shaikhet, Semyon Fridlyand, and Max Alpert, the founders of Soviet photojournalism; Georgy Zelma and Max Penson, who documented the transformation of Central Asia; Moisei Nappelbaum, a master of studio portraiture; and Evzerikhin and Yakov Khalip, members of the younger generation that followed in the footsteps of the famous Aleksandr Rodchenko and Boris Ignatovich. Yet the very photographers whose work facilitated the growth of the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s, and who heroically documented the horrors of World War II, were targeted by Stalin and forced out of their positions during the anti-Semitic campaigns of the late 1940s and 1950s.

Soviet Photography: 1920s-1930s is timed to coincide with The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film, which opens September 25 at the Jewish Museum in New York and runs through February 7, 2016.