Ivan Lindsay and Rena Lavery launch their new book Soviet Women and their art at Hatchards

May 27th, 2019 | By | Category: Journal

Hatchards was established by John Hatchard in 1797 and has been at its current location for over 200 years.

On the 8th May Hatchards of Piccadilly, London’s oldest book shop, hosted the launch of Ivan Lindsay and Rena Lavery’s new book, ‘Soviet Women and their art.’  The event was organised by the Russian Art and Culture platform and the book was published by the Unicorn Press.

This new publication provides a cross-disciplinary examination of early 20th century feminism and gender politics in the Soviet Union in relation to the rise and development of prominent female artists and sculptors. The book covers the period from the end of WWI and pre-Revolutionary Russia to Gorbachev’s perestroika and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It consists of a collection of essays by leading specialists in the field, academics and independent scholars, covering major events in Soviet history, art and culture and exploring the role of women in society, the representation of women in art, and discussing the oeuvre and artistic practices of Soviet female artists.

Ivan Lindsay and Rena Lavery co-produced the book and wrote the introduction.  Lindsay followed this with an essay entiltled ‘Fizcultura (physical culture) and Soviet ideals of female beauty’ and Lavery wrote essays on ‘The Female role in Soviet Society’ and ‘The Beauty and discipline of the Ballerinas.’  Natalia Murray wrote a chapter on the ‘Great Female artists of the Avant Garde’ and Elizaveta Butakova’ covered ‘Pre-Krasnoe:’ Women and ‘unofficial’ art in Moscow.’ The book was edited by the Cambridge based art historian, Katia Kapushesky.  The book provides a look at the achievements of Russian women during the Soviet period, and the multiple challenges they faced, as seen through the prism of women artists.  The subject has been little addressed in Russian and never before in the West.

The book is available in paperback or Kindle format on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Soviet-Women-Their-Art-Equality/dp/1911604767/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1555067512&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

Ivan Lindsay and Rena Lavery, curators and dealers, have organized numerous exhibitions and books on the art of this period.  Ivan Lindsay’s books on Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/Ivan-Lindsay/e/B00N96ZEMG

Rena Lavery and Ivan Lindsay at the book launch at Hatchards

Initial reviews of the book have been positive https://alexanderadamsart.wordpress.com/2019/04/10/women-as-creators-and-subjects-in-soviet-art/

The event was well attended by those interested in Russian culture of this period and journalists.  Ilya Dmitryachev, Chief of TASS London bureau, interviewed Ivan Lindsay and wrote it up on TASS.


English Translation below: –

A book about women in Soviet art has been published in London


The retrospective entitled “Soviet women and their art” contains a detailed analysis of the style of dozens of female artists and sculptors.
LONDON, May 9th. / Corr. TASS Ilya Dmitryachev. A book about the work of Soviet women artists, covering the period from the birth of the Russian avant-garde to the collapse of the Soviet Union, was published in London. A 250-page retrospective entitled “Soviet Women and Their Art” (Soviet Women And Their Art), authored by British writers and art historians Rena Lavery and Ivan Lindsay, contains a detailed analysis of the style of dozens of artists and sculptors, including Lyubov Popova (1889 -1924), Vera Mukhina (1889-1953), Zinaida Serebryakova (1884-1967), Alexandra Exter (1882-1949), Lydia Masterkova (1927-2008).

Lindsay, who had previously written five works on the art of the USSR, admitted in a conversation with a TASS correspondent that the main interest during the work on the book was to reveal a topic that is practically unknown to the English-speaking reader. “We thought that the theme of great achievements of Soviet women in art is very interesting, and that it has never been touched on in English before. They are very poorly known outside of the Russian Federation, and Russia itself is hardly very well acquainted with their work.” reported by Lindsay.

“Soviet women achieved a significant expansion of their rights much earlier than women in the West, and this seemed important to us. Then we described their achievements in various fields of art, from painting and sculpture to ballet,” the author added.

On historical justice

According to Anna Kanunikova, an expert on the Internet portal Russian Art and Culture about events related to Russian art abroad, these books will help eliminate historical injustice. “It can increase the recognition of Soviet women artists, who have remained in the shadow of male contemporaries for many years, not only in Great Britain, but throughout the world. The book is able to correct historical injustice – after all, Soviet women of art had a unique style and innovative ideas. that success awaits her, “Kanunikova told TASS correspondent.

 The chairman of the publishing house of the Unicorn Publishing Group, Baron Strathcarron, in turn, has no doubt that the story of the Soviet artists will find its reader. “I publish books on art, among which there are often books on Soviet art, which is becoming more and more famous and is being sold more and more successfully. I am sure that this book will be a success. We have printed about 2 thousand copies and already sent 1 thousand copies in the United States, from where it will be distributed throughout the countries of the Americas – it will be sent to Brazil, Argentina, and Canada, “said Baron Strathcarron to TASS correspondent.

He also announced plans for the publisher to translate the book into Chinese. “We are trying to get the right to publish it in China, for which it will be translated into Chinese,” said Baron Strathcarron.

Chairman of the Unicorn Press, Baron Ian Strathcarron.

Tags: Baron Ian Strathcarron, Elizaveta Butakova, Hatchards, Ilya Dmitryachev, Ivan Lindsay, Katia Kapushesky, Natalia Murray, Rena Lavery, Russian art and culture, Soviet Women and their art, Unicorn Press

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