За нашу дружбу! Allan Gamborg and his updated Soviet Digital Art website.

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Regular readers will recall that over the years, I’ve repeatedly doffed my уша́нка (ushanka — it’s the furry cap) in the general direction of Allan Gamborg.

It’s hard to believe 33 years have passed since I first met Allan, Kim Andersen and Kim Wiesener during the rambunctious summer of ’87. These three Danes of the apocalypse have been artfully weaving in and out of my travel narratives ever since, as during this famous escapade (in Allan’s own words):

For example, I still think of the evening in that Belgian beer place (2000?), where all got complete rat-assed and the party just dissolved in utter chaos.

Ah, those were the daze.

Allan has lived in Moscow for more than two decades, and somewhere around his third or fourth career in the workaday world he assumed yet another identity: purveyor and advocate of Soviet-era art and artists.

You need not have an opinion about Vladimir Putin, or be a dirty rotten Commie, to enjoy Allan’s web site. You merely must appreciate art.

Today an update arrived.

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all well and safe in these turbulent times.

I have been spending a significant part of the time in self isolation updating my art database with photos, descriptions and artists’ biographies.

All this material you can find online – art works and descriptions – for about 900 (mainly Soviet) artists.

If you have a free minute (or some vacant days), and wish to relax with some art – please visit.

Artist Portfolios

Best wishes,

Allan

Here’s the full story.

This website is dedicated to Soviet Art and Socialist Realism in the 20th century. We feature a large number of Soviet and socialist fine arts and posters as well as applied arts and design of that period.

The artists featured were active in the Soviet Union from the 1920s through the 1970s, and their works cover Russian avant-garde, socialist realism as well as the non-official underground art of the 1960s and 1970s.

The collection contains Soviet fine arts, mural designs, graphics, prints and USSR posters, and a unique assortment of applied arts, textile and fashion designs, and tapestries of the 1950s and 1960s. We also show a number of theater designs, including costumes, set designs and curtains. Another specialty of the gallery is children’s book illustrations of the 1950s and 1960s.

Thematically, we often focus on Soviet art works and posters telling stories about people and their city or village, work, industry, culture, politics, and works of art illustrating the era and its history as a whole. Specific topics include Soviet agriculture, sports, theater and ballet.

The artists featured were taught by the most famous artists of the late 19th and the early 20th century, and studyed at the most prestigious art schools of the Soviet Union at the time: The VKhuTeMas, the Polygraphical Institute, the Surikov Institute, the Repin Institute, the MIPIDI, and the Moscow Textile Institute.

Most artists featured led a “double” artistic life. On the one hand, they were all members of the state controlled Artists’ Union, being on the state budget of the Soviet Ministry of Culture, producing Soviet art works in support of Soviet ideology, socialist realism, propaganda posters, etc. On the other hand, they took every opportunity to paint for themselves, i.e. painting themes and in styles they personally preferred. Working on genres such as landscape, cityscape and still-life was a manifestation of artists’ independence from official ideology.

Many of these works of art were lost to the dust of artists’ studios. Here we aim at showing both aspects of the artists’ works.

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