Exiled Russian and Ukrainian Artists in Prague during the Interwar Period

in Experiment
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Abstract

Through several examples of the representation of Russian art in the milieu of interwar Czechoslovakia, the article shows the specificity of the local Russian cultural community which was exiled there following the October Revolution and the ensuing civil war. It examines the community’s international contacts and the role its strong institutional background played in establishing several art collections—most importantly at the Slavonic Institute and the Russian Cultural-Historical Museum in Prague—as it attempted to capture and preserve for the future the art production of Russian artists abroad. It also looks at a remarkable artistic strategy used by The Scythians artist group, which was based on an alleged otherness and even exoticism of the Russian artists residing in Prague and drew on the ideology of Eurasianism promoted in the Russian exiled community of the period.

Experiment

A Journal of Russian Culture

Sections

Figures

  • Boris Grigoriev, Faces of the World, 1921-30, oil on board, 250 × 521 cm, National Gallery in Prague.
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  • Serge Mako, In the Mongolian hut [Dans la hutte mongole], 1933, oil on canvas, 65,5 × 46,5 cm, Centre Pompidou—Musée national d’art moderne, Paris.
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  • Natalia Goncharova, Poster for A Retrospective Exhibition of Russian Painting of the XVIII–XXth Centuries, 1935, 124 × 94 cm, Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.
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  • Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky, Former Defender of the Homeland, 1920s, oil on canvas, 144 × 137 cm, National Gallery in Prague.
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  • Platon Deev, Whirl of Spirits, 1930s to 1940s, watercolor and Indian ink, 27,5 × 21,5 cm, Museum of Czech Literature, Prague.
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  • Unknown photographer, Sculptor Aleksandr Golovin ( front) with the poetess Tatiana Ratgauz and her portrait bust, Prague, 1927.
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