Item description for Soviet Posters: The Sergo Grigorian Collection by Maria Lafont...
This massive book of Soviet propaganda posters, many rare and never before published, is at once a revealing historical document and a sublime example of graphic art at its best.
Dating from 1917 to the beginning of the Cold War, the posters in this book feature the work of such major Russian ground-breaking avant-garde designers as El Lissitzky and Alexander Rodchenko as well as extraordinary works by anonymous artists. Presented in full color, the 250 posters gathered here range in themes from warnings about the dangers of alcohol abuse and the creeping Nazi menace to illustrations of utopian harmony and the Soviet industrial machine. A brief illustrated introduction offers a chronological overview of the period that produced such eloquent art, which has long been a major source of inspiration to artists and designers.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Soviet Posters: The Sergo Grigorian Collection?
Excellent colection of Soviet Posters Feb 9, 2008
This book is an excellent collection of Soviet posters. The entire book is full page images of posters with English translations. The range is early 20th century to '85 or so. Small snippets of background accompany certain ones that have special significance. WELL worth the investment.
Ephemeral fervor Feb 3, 2008
I was intrigued to read in the intro of this excellent book that the posters shown were printed in quantities of between five thousand and a hundred thousand and mostly had a rather short lifespan so we must be grateful to Sergo Grigorian for having the foresight and enthusiasm to create his collection.
I thought the early posters, from the 1918 onwards, are the most fascinating. There are several in the best Constructivist tradition, page fifty-four has a stunning typographic one designed by Sorbonski or page seventy-two with a movie poster showing a painting of two revolutionary peasants using a machine gun integrated into display headlines and text. However as you look through the pages the graphic style, especially after 1945, slowly morphs into safe predictable State style with plenty of happy children and contemporary versions of Stakhanovites leading the workers into the dazzling future.
The last book section with posters from 1965 to 2001 do show however a rather wide graphic style with strong abstracts, even a bit of pop art, photo montage and on page 223 a very western European style poster for a Russian shotgun (in English for Raznoexport). The last poster in the book by Vladimir and Georgy Sternberg, from 2001, celebrates past Soviet culture with ten mini posters of famous movies.
Overall I thought an excellent selection of posters presented in a well produced book (and good value for the price) but there were a couple of annoying editorial flaws. The page numbers are turned sideways and they assume a bit more importance than the average publication because the details about each poster are at the back of the book and it is rather frustrating to have to keeping turning backwards and forwards. Made perhaps more annoying because there is plenty of space on each page for the captions.
I understand that Prestel will have a similar book of North Korean posters out later this year.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
comprehensive retrospective of Soviet Union propaganda and art posters May 29, 2007
With the majority of peasants illiterate when the Communists seized power in the Russian Revolution in the early 1900s, the communications system including the press primitive, posters soon took a prominent place in spreading the ideas and ideals of Communism and focusing the far-flung, heterogeneous population on central institutions such as the army. The poster never lost its prominent position in the Soviet Union. While the subject matter of the many posters was limited by government authorities to accepted propaganda themes and perspectives, considerable latitude and even considerable innovation were allowed and even encouraged. Suprematicism championed by the modernist Kasimir Malevich "created a new artistic alphabet, based on the languages of color and energy. Vladimir Mayakovsky and Alexander Rodchenko were two Russian artists who pored their skills and visions into poster art in lieu of other hospitable mediums in the totalitarian state. El Lisitzky introduced the style 'constructivism" in the 1920, followed by photomontage done by Gustav Klutsis and others in the early 1930s. Lafont, who was born in Moscow and is the author of "Pillaging Cambodia - Illicit Traffic in Khmer Art," cites such influential Soviet artists, whose influence spread outside of Russia, and follows the changing course of the Soviet poster according to changing artistic ideas, historical circumstances, and emphasis on certain propaganda in the Introduction.
In groupings of a few years to as much as a decade or more roughly defining historical periods of the Soviet Union, two hundred and fifty posters are pictured in full-page size with details of some shown on facing pages. Translations of their exhortations and in some cases longer message or text are found in the notes following the extensive gallery. But for 14, all are from the collection of Grigorian, a Russian lawyer who is working to establish a museum for Soviet posters. This collection of his plus ranging widely over styles, subjects, and periods of the statist posters of the former Soviet Union makes an outstanding retrospective.