cover image Women Artists of Russia's New Age

Women Artists of Russia's New Age

Rizzoli, Naumovna Yablonskaya. Rizzoli International Publications, $55 (248pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1090-1

For their roles in the birth of modernism, most of the 14 Russian women artists profiled in this profusely illustrated monograph by a Soviet art historian came from far-flung provinces to challenge the overrefined European conventions of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The haunting, turn-of-the-century Symbolist paintings of Maria Yakunchikova were followed by Zinaida Serebryakova's animated realism and by Natalya Goncharova's neoprimitivist fusion of folk art and cubism. Universal War , a series of semi-abstract collages by Olga Rozanova, is a powerful antiwar statement. In the 1920s and '30s as experiment gave way to Socialist Realism, women artists created intimate, poetic yet socially resonant ``chamber art.'' This valuable survey closes with two sculptors, Sarra Lebedeva and Vera Mukhina, who ventured beyond the limits imposed by Soviet bureaucracy to forge personal statements of woman's vitality and her place in society. (July)