Russian Art Nouveau

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Friday, December 03, 2010
Russian Art Nouveau: the world of art and Diaghilev's painters by Vsevold Petrov

I saw this book come through on hold for someone at the library this summer and promptly put myself on the list to get it next. I'm a fan of the art nouveau style, but I was completely unfamiliar with the Russian iteration.

Some loosey goosey googling tells me this title is currently out of print, but if you come across it in a library or used book store, I recommend picking it up and having a look. People of Portland, our library has one reference copy and one circulating copy, the latter of which as of this very moment is available. If you put it on hold, keep in mind that it's a BIG BOOK if you're walking or riding your bike. It looks like used copies are available through Amazon, but they're expensive!

I took a bunch of photos before I had to take the book back. I should tell you now, this post is mostly pictures. Since the book is mostly pictures, I'm okay with this.

columbine poking out her tongue
I love this one! Columbine Poking Out Her Tongue was painted in 1915 by Konstantin Somov. The color is so fantastic and her attitude so flirtatious and fun. (The curls!) I can't remember if the streaks in the sky are from fireworks or a meteor shower, but either one is a nice touch. Since these are photographs of book pages, a lot is lost - I would love to see any of these in person.

Pierrot and Lady
Pierrot and Lady by Konstantin Somov, 1910. (I like Konstantin Somov.) The little details are so great - the way she's leaning into him and has her mask off already; some powder bewigged busybody in the background (her husband?) has noticed. No doubt there will be much gossip! This is part of a larger painting that also has a lovely night sky.

masked lady detail
Another one by Konstantin Somov! This is a small detail of a huge painted curtain for the Free Theater, made in 1913. I love the black mask and her blonde braid and how bored she looks despite the wild party going on all around her.

curtain design
Curtain design for the Free Theater 1913 by Konstantin Somov - here's a look at the curtain as a whole.

Just in time for Nutcracker season! This was painted in 1923 by Zinaida Serebraikova and is called Ballet Dressing Room: Snow flakes (the Nutcracker). I love the way she paints faces.

the card house detail
This is a detail from a 1919 painting called The Card House, also by Zinaida Serebraikova. I also love the way she paints children! This lot look like they could be my little cousins.

young girl detail
And last but not least, a detail from Tatia With Vegetables, by Zinaida Serebraikova 1923. There's so much expression in her gaze -she looks like a very smart but kind little girl.
3 comments on "Russian Art Nouveau"
  1. So cool! I may have to put it on hold.

  2. Do it! I know you'd love the book - there were so many cool things I didn't take pictures of!

  3. I did put it on hold (along with a bunch of other stuff)! I am excited for it to come - hopefully in time for vacation!


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