KUKRYNIKSY

No. 1079, (“New” Europe), October 25, 1944

Multicolor brush stencil

52 x 47 1/2 in. (132.1 x 120.7 cm)

 

Slogan below image:

“Young powers from all of Europe have now joined forces with us,” say the Berlin announcers. By “young powers” is implied — apart from [Horia] Sima and Tsankov — slobbering Petain, the runaway Duce and the Finns of clearly non-Finnish origin. So then let them gather: they will be easier to capture.

 

“Krasnaia Zvezda”

 

Known collectively as Kukryniksy, the caricaturists Porfiril Nikitich Krylov, Mikhail Vasil’evich Kuprilanov, and Nikolai Alexandrovich Sokolov, were among TASS’s most prolific artists. The Kukryniksy understood humor’s power to attract public attention and harnessed their artistic abilities to relentlessly mock key officials of the Third Reich. In TASS No. 1079, the artists ascribe Hitler goulish qualities, giving him a sickly green face and red eyes. The artists also belittle Bulgarian fascist leader, Alexander Tsankov, who hunches over pathetically and picks his nose.

MIKHAIL CHEREMNYKH (1890-1962)

No. 1085 (New German Divisions), November 16, 1944

Multicolor brush stencil

Edition 537 of 1085

51 x 41 in. (129.5 x 104.1 cm)

Archive stamp on verso

Edition on verso in black ink

 

Text above image:

The leader of the Hitler Youth, Aksman, enthusiastically reported to Hitler that the army has deployed 70% of youth born in 1928.

(from the newspaper).

 

Below image:

TWO INCHES FROM THE POTTY

 

In the summer of 1941, Mikhail Cheremnykh founded the TASS Windows studio that designed thousands of anti-fascist propaganda posters over the course of World War II. Two decades prior, Cheremnykh had founded the ROSTA Windows studio that created hand-stenciled propaganda posters during the Russian Civil War. Among the ROSTA artists were Vladimir Mayakovsky, Sergei Maliutin, and Anton Lavinsky. Both ROSTA and Cheremyukh intensely influenced the TASS studio's aesthetic: as visible in their shared caricatured style, use of stencils, and bright humor.

KONSTANTIN VIALOV (1900-1976)

No. 1152 (Road to the West), 1945

Multicolor Brush Stencil

55 x 52 in. (139.7 x 132.1 cm)

Verse by I. Levidova

 

Verse below image: 

A young woman stands with a rifle

On the road to the front.

The driver slowly comes to a halt

Before the strict controller

 

And further on the road,

Soldiers go West.

She sees them off to battle —

She is part of the victory.

I. Levidova

ALEXANDER PREZHETSLAVSKII (1875-?)

No. 1077 (In the Mountains of Transylvania), 1944

Multicolor brush stencil

48 x 41 1/4 in. (121.9 x 104.8 cm)

Text by Mikh. Vershinin

 

Slogan under image:

Our troops in the mountains of Transylvania.

Their thundering weapon don’t fall silent.

Heroes of Russia! Victory is near.

The enemy can’t escape retribution!

 

Mikh. Vershinin

 

Artist Alexander Prezhitslavskii demonstrates his mastery of pochoir in TASS  No. 1077 "In the Mountains of Transylvania." Employing over 20 stencils, Prezhitslavskii painted the sky in a range of tones, and the machine fire in a gradient from orange to yellow. In both color scheme and subject matter, TASS No.1077 recalls the monumentality of a Socialist Realist history painting. 

VLADIMIR LIUSHIN (1898-1970)

NO. 1183 (Anti-Aircraft Gunner), 1945

Multicolor brush stencil

74 1/4 x 35 1/4 in. (188.6 x 89.6 cm)

Text by I. Levidova 

 

Text above image: 

Soviet women with honor fulfill their duty to the Motherland, and strengthen the military and economic might of the Soviet government. They were dignified before their fathers and sons, husbands and brothers, defending the native land from the German-Fascist invaders.

 

(From the presentation of the Orgburo “about International Women’s Day — 8th of March”)

 

Text below image: 

-Fire!

    The barrel is positioned at its highest point.

Fire!

    The enemy cannot hide in the night —

In the air of the night watch stands

The shining daughter of the homeland.

                            I. Levidova

KUKRYNIKSY

No. 930 (Search for Human Resources in Germany), March 1944

Multicolor brush stencil

50 1/2 x 45 in. (128.3 x 114.3 cm)

 

Text above image:

German-fascist bandits rush around, now

in search of a means to save themselves from catastrophe. They again

rely on the “total” mobilization on the home front,

though German human resources have been used up.

 

From the decree of the Higher Commander J. Stalin on February 23rd, 1944.

Victor Sokolov (1923-1980)

TASS No. 1094, c. 1944

Multicolor brush stencil

57 x 34 in. (144.8 x 86.4 cm)

 

Text below the image:

 

Workers and worker-women, engineers and mechanics of tank factories! Let’s give the Red Army more tanks! Successfully create new types of war machines! The better the tank — the closer is our victory over the enemy!

 

(From the speech by the Orgburo and 27th annual Great October Socialist Revolution).

ALEXANDER VOLKOV (1886-1957)

No. 987, May 1944

Multicolor brush stencil

57 1/2 x 30 1/4 in. (146.1 x 76.8 cm)

 

Slogan below image:

 

Workers and worker-women, engineers and technicians of industry! Remember that machine tools are the most important base of technical armament for our country. We must ceaselessly improve the output of our machines! Help to quickly support the renewal and construction of industry!

(From the appeal of the Orgburo on the 1st of May 1944.)

VLADIMIR LIUSHIN (1898-1970)

No. 1153 (Kazakh Steel), c. 1944

Multicolor brush stencil

58 1/2 x 48 in. (148.6 x 121.9 cm)

Text by A Mashistov

 

Above the image:

 

The opening of the first metallurgical plant in Kazakhstan, built during the war, became a large celebration for the people.  (from the newspaper)

 

Below the image:

 

Among the industrial countries,

Of rich metal smelting,

Stands Soviet Kazakhstan.

May the steel of Kazakhstan harden

Into menacing tank armor

To accurately launch its missiles

And help our native army

Fight the Fascist invaders.

 

A. Mashistov

ANDREY PLOTNOV (1916-1997)

No. 1202 (The Port of Klaipeda will be Restored)

March 28, 1945

Multicolor brush stencil

54 x 46 in. (137.2 x 116.8 cm)

Text by A. Zharov

 

Below the image:

 

After freeing Klaipeda,

We celebrate the victory.

Soviet soldiers are proud

That on the Baltic sea

Will soon be built a mighty port

For their new lives.

 

A. Zharov

MIKHAIL SOLOV'EV (1905-1990)

NO. 1044 (Glory to the Liberators of Chisinau!)

August 31, 1944

Multicolor brush stencil

64 3/4 x 30 1/2 in. (164.5 x 77.5 cm)

Text by A. Zharov

 

Verse under image: 

Always to be praised are the soldiers

who conquered from the enemy

the capitol of sunny Moldova,

the soviet city, Chisinau.

 

A. Zharov

ANTON LAVINSKY (1893-1968)

ROSTA No. 957, 1920

Multicolor stenciling, mounted on Japanese paper

18 3/8 x 15 1/4 in. (47.62 x 38.7 cm)

Text by Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)

 

Full text: 

What is this holiday tree? 

Judge for yourself

The wealthy celebrated

While you just watched

But our holidays

Even this year

If there's a holiday, 

Then it's for everyone

VLADIMIR MAYAKOVSKY (1893-1930)

Glavpolitprovest No. 67, March 1921

Multicolor stenciling, mounted on Japanese paper

 

Full verse:

Don’t trust him

Don’t sleep

Don’t complain afterwards because

You’ll see behind their backs

the snout of a beast

VLADIMIR MAYAKOVSKY (1893-1930)

Glavpolitprovest No. 67, March 1921

Multicolor stenciling, mounted on Japanese paper

No. 4

35 5/8 x 15 3/8 in. (65 x 39 cm)

 

You’ll see behind their backs

the snout of a beast

Hand-stenciling on paper

 

ROSTA Windows studio, under the auspices of the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA), created hundreds of pro-Bolshevik propaganda posters during the Russian Civil War (1917-1922). Artists stenciled the illustrations and accompanying verse by hand in an assembly-line style. The iconic Soviet poet, Vladimir Mayakovsky, wrote most of the verse for the posters. 

VLADIMIR MAYAKOVSKY (1893-1930)

ROSTA No. 630, 1920

Multicolor stencil, mounted on Japanese paper

Verse by Vladimir Mayakovsky

 

Full verse:

1. America Gets Concessions from Us (58 x 45 cm)

2. The Entente is Busy -- For the Better (58.5 x 45.5 cm)

3. They Start Fighting (59 x 45 cm)

4. And We Achieve! (59 x 44.5 cm)

Press Release

Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to present TASS Windows: World War II and the Art of Agitation, an exhibition of rarely exhibited World War II Soviet propaganda posters by the TASS Windows Studio (1941-1945). The exhibition is on view from February 6th to March 2nd. Stenciled by hand and one-of-a-kind, these posters are vital to the history of Soviet graphic design and are as much works of art as historical objects. While widely distributed during the war in the Soviet Union, Britain and the United States, few TASS posters survive to current day.

The TASS Windows studio formed as an immediate reaction to Hitler’s forces invading the Soviet Union during World War II. Sponsored by the Russian Telegraph Agency (TASS), a team of artists, poets and illustrators – among them Mikhail Cheremnukh, Kukriniksy, and Pavel Sokolov-Skalia – created thousands of propaganda posters aimed at boosting the war morale on the home front. A profoundly ambitious project, the artists draped their posters in the windows of retail stores, private homes, train stations, even projecting them onto the walls of factories or hospitals. 

These exceptional artists worked in an assembly line style, stenciling each of their posters by hand. Stenciling, then more commonly known by its French name, pochoir, was the preferred medium for fine-art posters in Europe by the turn of the 20th century. The TASS studio renewed the pochoir tradition, designing posters that were both works of fine-art, and agitational propaganda for the Soviet masses. By the height of the war, the artists stenciled with as many as 60 colors, skillfully emulating the oil painter’s treatment of color and space.

For art historian Christina Lodder, “the subjects [of the TASS posters] are harrowing and provide a visual history of one of the most terrible wars in human history. Their impact is intensified by the posters’ technical prowess, which stretches the possibility of the stencil to the limit.”

Technical skill and biting humor coalesce in TASS #1085 “New German Division — Two Inches from the Potty.” Designed in a lively graphic style, the poster mercilessly berates the new generation of German forces who march with chamber pots in their hands and pacifiers in their mouths. Cheremnykh used up to a dozen colors, and created individual stencils to produce the white glare on the chamberpots, and the delicate outlines around the young soldiers’ uniforms.

Also on exhibition are two ROSTA studio posters designed by Vladimir Mayakovsky and Anton Lavinsky. A decisive influence on the TASS studio, the ROSTA Windows studio (1919-1921) hand-stenciled posters in support of the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War. Distinguished by their bright colors and decorative quality, these posters expressed disgust for the gluttonous Capitalist, celebrated the magnanimous industrial worker, and rallied support for Communism. Like the ROSTA studio, TASS artists envisioned their massively-scaled posters for a wide and often illiterate audience, and employed stencils as the most dynamic artistic medium available.

For more information about the exhibition, please contact the gallery. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm and by appointment.