The Unsung Hero of the Russian Avant-Garde: The Life and Times of Nikolay Punin

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BRILL, Jun 27, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 325 pages
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This book is the first biography of Nikolay Punin (1888-1953). One of the most prominent art-critics of the avant-garde, in 1919 Punin was the Commissar of the Hermitage and Russian Museums, he was lecturing at the Academy of Arts and at the State University in Petrograd (and subsequently Leningrad). He was the right hand of Lunacharsky and the head of the Petrograd branch of the Visual Arts Department of Narkompross. From 1913 till 1938, Punin worked at the Russian Museum and organized several major exhibitions of Russian art. Yet his name is not widely known in the West, primarily because his file languished in the KGB archives since he died in 1953, partly because his grave in the Gulag where he died is marked only by a number, and partly because his own reputation became submerged under that of his lover, poet and writer Anna Akhmatova. Through the life and inheritance of Nikolay Punin, this book will examine the very phenomenon of the Russian avant-garde and its fate after the October Revolution, as well as the artistic trends and cultural policies which dominated Soviet art in the 1930-1950s.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Chapter One Origins of the Hero
7
Chapter Two Education
23
The First World War and Emergence of the New Creativity in Russia
31
The October Revolution and the Search for New Art
65
Chapter Five No Future for the Futurists? Attempts to Educate the Masses
95
Chapter Six Gathering Clouds But High Heart
131
Chapter Seven The Slow Strangulation of Free Culture
167
Chapter Nine Time of Terror
207
Chapter Ten The Great Patriotic War
231
Chapter Eleven The Broken PostWar Dreams
261
Chapter Twelve Bitter End
279
Bibliography of Published Writings of N Punin
297
Bibliography
307
Index
313
Copyright

Chapter Eight The Victory of Socialist Realism
193

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About the author (2012)

Natalia Murray graduated from the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg before taking the PhD course at the Hermitage Museum in 1995. In 1998 she moved to England; over the past five years she has been lecturing on XIX-XX c. Russian Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art and at the University of Sussex. In 2010 she started her second PhD course at the Courtauld.

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