“Nu” in Soviet style: How many are asked today for the social realism of Alexander Deineka on the global art market?
After the teleconference in 1986, Leningrad – Boston, the whole world is finding out that there is nothing forbidden in the USSR, what happens between a man and a woman, and this phrase has become widely used in Russia for defining anti-sexuality culture in the Soviet era. But was it really so … Was it true that chaste art was at a time when social realism dominated? Looking at the pictures of the famous classic of the Soviet art, which had numerous titles and regalia – Alexander Deineka – you can’t say it. The artist has dedicated the lion’s share of his works to the “nude” genre.
And today, the artist’s erotic paintings occupy a very significant place in the world auction. So, in the fall of 2015, the painting “Behind the Curtain” went under the hammer at MacDougall’s London auction for 2 million 248 thousand pounds, which is almost 3.5 million dollars. This event created a sensation in the art world, as its price was the highest ever paid for a painting by the famous painter of social realism.
This canvas is almost unknown to the general public, as it has been kept in a private collection since its inception. Back in 1933, Deineka wrote and presented to his friend, the artist Fyodor Bogorodsky, this simple sketch in the “nude” genre. And his family kept this gift in their house for many years. It is nowhere and never exhibiting, so very few people knew about this work of Deineka. But once it turned out to be at auction in London, and then in the collection of a European collector.
And what can we say, how could an artist put this work on public display in the 1930s? Her now and then often publish fragmentary …, and at that time it was simply unthinkable.
Alexander Alexandrovich Deineka (1899-1969) comes from the city of Kursk, from the family of a railwayman. As a boy, Alexander decided on his future profession, and just before the revolution, he graduated from an art school in the city of Kharkov. The revolutionary events of the 17th swept over and carried through the life of a young artist. The work of the photographer in Ugrozysk, the management of the art studio, the design of campaign trains, and the staging of performances are just a small list of what Deineka was fascinated with in those windbreak years. Yes, and at the front he had to make war with the White Guards, defending his native Kursk.
At the end of the civil war, the artist was seconded to study in Moscow, in VHUTEMAS for a printing department. There, V. A. Favorsky and I. I. Nivinsky, who left a deep imprint on the development of the artist’s original talent, became his teachers and mentors. It is also worth noting the great influence of art by Ferdinand Hodler and German expressionism on Deineka’s work. After graduating from high school, in the second half of the 20s he worked as a graphic, printed in journals, illustrated poems and novels.
Alexander Deineka, during his entire creative career, created compositions that were dynamic in composition on the themes of patriotic heroism, labor, and sports, and was fond of the artist and the “nude” genre. On many canvases and sketches of the artist, not only women appear in all their naked beauty, but also athletic men, who are strong and healthy.
Depicting the life of a happy country populated by sports, athletic people, Deineka introduced innovative methods into art and found dynamic perspectives in conveying the images of the builders of a socialist future. Often on his canvases they work for the good of the country, go in for sports, have a rest.
Sport was one of the main themes in the master’s work, as he loved Deineka to work with plastic on athletic figures in motion. Confirmation of the paintings “Football”, “Running”, “Goalkeeper”.