Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Russian Impressionism- Part II: The Soviet Influence

Last week's subject was the French Impressionists' influence on Russian artists before the Russian revolution. This week's blog is how Russian artists continued to evolve while isolated behind the Iron Curtain.

When the Communist Party came to power, they suppressed all forms of art that had roots in foreign techniques or style. In spite of these dictates, Russian artists managed to use the techniques of impressionism in combination with subjects acceptable to the Soviets.

The result was a uniquely Russian style. When the Iron Curtain fell away and the art of 5 decades (appx. 1930-1980) was finally available to view, it was clear that Russian art had developed in a very different way than in the West.

The West had evolved from Impressionism into styles such as Cubism, Fauvism, and Expressionism. By contrast, Russian artists used a more realistic approach.

They portrayed the lives of the Russian citizens. Their art was realistically full of optimism, hope and dreams of the ordinary people. The style and subjects are now referred to as "Russian Impressionism."

Have you seen Russian Impressionism before? What do you think of this style that continued into the 1980s?


  1. Thanks for the info. I really like this art. Never knew there was such a thing as Russian Impressionism. JG

  2. These are really lovely, Dee

  3. Beautiful art and great info, thanks, R. Rich Adams

  4. I like the style, with such different subjects from the French. Not a Sunday picnic in the park to be seen. The young woman standing at the side of the road is especially poignent, setting out to school, I'd guess, on a long lonely road. On the other hand the three women having a good laugh makes me smile. sz

  5. Wow SZ you're good! That scene of the girl is about leaving the rural area and heading for school in the city. RA

  6. I love French Impressionism. My house is full of prints of Monet, Van Gogh, others. I've enjoyed learning about Russian Impressionism. MS

  7. Beautiful paintings. Is there a way to find out who the artists are? I'm not seeing that info anywhere on this site. Thanks.

    1. Dear RW: I haven't found the complete list, but I know three of them:

      On the bottom: Left, middle is "Laughing Milkmaids" by Nikolai Baskokov; left, bottom is "Artist's Dachau" by Nina Volkova; right, middle is "To the City for Education" by M. Kugach.

      Also, there's a Russian artist whose art I saw in an exhibit in Paris. I thought it so beautiful. His name is Arkhip Kourndji and I wrote a blog (May, 2010)about him. The blog is titled, "Artist Who Got the Light Just Right."

      Hope that helps you, R