Soviet Propaganda Triptychs and Posters from the Edmond Rosenfeld Collection.
Public exhibitions : Monday 23th November from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday 24th November from 11 a.m. to noon.
Auction will take place on Tuesday 24th November, 2 p.m.
Hôtel Drouot, room 14 - 9 Rue Drouot, 75009 Paris - FRANCE
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I went to Toula for the first time in December 1989, well before I opened the "Les Oréades Gallery" in Moscow. At that time, it was difficult for a foreigner to travel to such a town in the U.S.S.R., especially since it had only been one month since the Berlin Wall had fallen. Toula was an industrial town, known for its factories which produce weapons. I went there to meet the painter Eugen Jidkov and the museum curator Maria Kouzina. Kouzina was counting on my help as a “wealthy foreigner” to finance the publication of a catalogue of Jidkov’s work. On the same trip, I met the director of the National Soviet Press, which was housed in a gigantic building in Toula. All official Soviet documents were printed there, including passports, diplomas, greeting cards for the pioneers, as well as many propaganda posters. Each poster was labelled with its author/artist, editor, the number of prints made, its dimensions and the address of the printing house in Toula. The printing house was called “Communard” from 1918 until 1992, when its name was changed to “Lev Tolstoy” as a result of Perestroika. All documents printed there until 1992 required the approval of the Regional Committee of the Communist Party.
I had several catalogues and posters printed at the “Lev Tolstoy” printing house for my own exhibitions in Russia. Each time I would receive my orders, they would arrive wrapped in old Soviet propaganda posters. Intrigued by the banal use of these posters, I inquired about purchasing Communard’s residual stock, and ended up acquiring the 37 original triptychs and 50 posters that I am offering for sale today. These works have only been on public display once. In 2005, they were used to decorate the halls of an industrial exhibition in Castres, France. As the posters were to be hung in the huge halls, far above the visitors’ heads, they could not be hung in traditional heavy frames. So instead, each poster was placed on solid yet lightweight piece of cardboard and was then covered with a transparent plastic sheet. A sufficient margin was left around each poster so that the glue used to attach the plastic sheet to the cardboard never touched the poster. This method of display allowed for an ideal conservation of the posters.
It goes without saying that these posters were obtained directly from the source, and all are originals. All of the posters, with one exception, have all of the details regarding their title/author/place of printing/etc. printed directly on them.
In addition to the posters acquired directly from “Communard/Lev Tolstoy,” 5 photo-montages by Victor Koretsky, the eminent propaganda artist, are also for sale. These signed works, which spell Lenin’s name in cyrillic, were acquired directly from the artist. At the time of their acquisition, he told me about his artistic training with a French professor and explained to me how he managed to incorporate photography into the art of propaganda. He also shared his experience of how his posters were commissioned, refused, accepted or produced. In advance of the Reagan-Gorbachev talks in Iceland in 1986, the Communist Party commissioned him to design some strongly anti-American posters. The posters were printed before the talks and were to be used in case the talks failed. The talks were a success and a phone call from Reykjavik sufficed to destroy those posters.
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