History of Modern Russian and Ukrainian Art Online
Advisor Charlotte Douglas, New York University
The collection documents the history of modern Russian and Ukrainian art. It encompasses critical literature, illustrated books, and art periodicals. The collection contains texts by such artists as Wassily Kandinsky, Pavel Filonov, Kazimir Malevich and Anatolii Petrytskyi; publications of art groups such as the Jack of Diamonds (Bubnovyi valet) and Màkovets; theoretical tracts by Nikolai Tarabukin and Boris Kushner; and books by well-known critics such as Iakov Tugendkhol'd, Erikh Gollerbakh, and Nikolai Punin. The collection also offers a selection of early 20th century art-related serials. These historical sources of pre- and post-revolutionary art reflect the diversity of artistic thought in the first thirty years of the 20th century, the intense discussions about the nature of the new art, its form, and its aims.
Sources for the history of modern and avant-garde Russian and Ukrainian art have long been difficult to locate. Major Western libraries that conscientiously built collections in history and literature from these regions commonly ignored books and journals concerned with the history of art. Art libraries, too, often disregarded them. The shortages brought on by war and revolution, short print runs, and the impossibility of distribution in the first quarter of the century, added to their scarcity.
The extreme rarity of these scarce publications and their lack of distribution have made them difficult to access, even in the countries of publication. The problem was made severe also when Socialist Realism became the only acceptable art in the Soviet Union in the early 1930's and materials concerning modernism disappeared from museums and libraries. The resulting deficit in scholarly resources has now become acute as the Western canon of the history of art, the art market, and museum and private collections have expanded to include modern and avant-garde Russian and Ukrainian works of art, and increased the demand for scholarly information.
This collection begins to remedy such deficiencies. It offers a wide-ranging assembly of rare volumes and periodicals indispensable for historical research in the history of the art of this area during the first third of the twentieth century. It contains pre- and post-revolutionary periodicals such as Mlechnyi Put'(The Milky Way) 1914-15, both issues of Russkoe iskusstvo (Russian Art) of 1923, and Radians'kie mistetstvo (National Art) 1928-1932 from Kiev, as well as major works by important artists, art historians and theorists, such as Malevich, Sidorov, Tugendkhol'd, Tarbukin, Ioffe, and Kushner.
Perhaps the most significant strength of this collection is a group of very rare periodicals documenting the course of Ukrainian art and culture during the 1920s. It includes, for example, Shliakhy mystetstva (1921-), Chervonyi shliakh (1923-1936), Nove mystetstvo (1925-1928), Zhyttia i revoliutsiia (1925-1934), and Nova heneratsiia ( 1927-1930).
The publication contains 158 monographs and 57 serials.