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Graphics of the Society of Easel Artists (OST)
Date: 18.02.2009 - 16.03.2009

The first exhibition of graphic works of the Society of Easel Artists (OST in Russian, 1925–1930) in the gallery Elysium. 


At the exhibition was presented graphics by famous masters of easel art such as D. Shterenberg, Y. Annenkov, A. Deineka, P. Williams, Y. Pimenov, A. Labas, A. Tyshler, I. Klyun, and not so famous G. Berendhof, M. Gorshman, M. Dobrokovsky, B. Bulgakov, V. Vasiliev, I. Ivanovsky, M. Granovtseva and others.


Works of easel graphic art, book and magazine illustrations, scene and costume designs were exposed at the exhibition (242 works). Artworks were from the museum collections of the State Tretyakov Gallery, the A.A.BakhrushinStateCentralTheatreMuseum, the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, and private collections. Most works were exposed for the first time.


The works of the Society of Easel Artists are close to constructivism, with elements of art nouveau and German expressionism. Theatre artworks of OST graphic artists are mainly created in constructivism style. Artists of OST depicted their modern time with modern means. Drawings were made in expressive cutting manner, with contrast of black and white, with diagonal compositions, sharp silhouettes and dynamic colors. The main motifs of OST graphic works are scenes of political celebrations, sport competitions, and scenes of everyday life, drawn in satiric manner. However, there are some lyrical motifs in artworks of OST. The art of the Society of Easel Artists can be divided into two styles: classical expressive black and white graphics with sharp forms and lines (posters, book illustrations, magazine drawings, scene designs) by A. Deineka, M. Dobrokovsky, V. Lyushin and others; and light watercolor drawings by A. Labas, A. Tyshler, N. Kupreyanov, V. Alfeyevsky, T. Lebedeva and others. A. Tyshler and S. Nikritin drew surrealistic, so rare for Russian art, works in the Society of Easel Artists. M. Gorshman depicted scenes of everyday life in grotesque manner in series of autolithographs Shtetl. T. Lebedeva and V. Lyushin drew scenes of city life; N. Denisovsky, K. Kozlova, E. Zernova, M. Gurevich, F. Kondratov and M. Granavtseva drew illustrations for children books in naïve manner.


The gallery published illustrated research catalogue to the exhibition. The catalogue contains the chronology ofMoscowart life and life of the Society of Easel Artists in 1922–1932; the excerpts from art critiques of that time with magazine illustrations, which provide insight into that difficult and contradictory epoch, the heat of the struggle in art circles. The biographies of 39 artists were published for the first time in the catalogue. Besides the illustrations of exposed works, the exhibition catalogue includes more than 100 illustrations, which concern art tendencies in the Society of Easel Artists: book illustrations of OST artists, illustrations in the press of 1920s–1930s. The articles and the illustrations in the catalogue could be good reference material for further research work.


Photos from the exhibition
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