Contacts and Contexts in Russian Art, 1905–1953 - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Contacts and Contexts in Russian Art, 1905–1953

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MA History of Art Special Option

Contacts and Contexts in Russian Art, 1905–1953

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El Lissitzky, Wolkenbügel (Cloud-Iron), 1924-25. Photomontage
Heinrich Vogeler, Cover design for MOPR (Workers International Relief) journal, no. 1, January 1924
Mikhail Kaufman, Alexander Rodchenko standing in front of dismantled Hanging Spatial Construction, 1922
Liubov Popova, Space-Force Construction, 1921, oil with wood dust on plywood. State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki
El Lissitzky, Wolkenbügel (Cloud-Iron), 1924-25. Photomontage
Heinrich Vogeler, Cover design for MOPR (Workers International Relief) journal, no. 1, January 1924
Mikhail Kaufman, Alexander Rodchenko standing in front of dismantled Hanging Spatial Construction, 1922
Liubov Popova, Space-Force Construction, 1921, oil with wood dust on plywood. State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki

Dr Maria Mileeva

The course investigates Russian twentieth century artists crossing cultural and geographical boundaries, making contact with developments across Europe and America, either through the trauma of emigration, or deliberate cultural export, through exhibitions, publications, and collaborations. Case studies might include Russian artists in Rome in 1917, Matisse in Moscow in 1911, Russian artists in cubist Paris, connections with the Bauhaus, Lissitzky among Dadaists and Constructivists, Alfred H. Barr in Russia, Gabo in emigration, Le Corbusier’s work in Moscow, Malevich in Poland, the 1927 exhibition of French art in Moscow, Chagall’s return to Russia, Soviet pavilion at the 1925 Paris exhibition, American connections with Russian art, and so on, as well as changing ideologies that constantly re-assessed artists’ recognition or survival.

Primary sources will be investigated on visits to archives, exhibitions, and museums in UK. The course will also undertake a study trip to St Petersburg and Moscow, where students will have the opportunity to examine a wide range of works of art in situ. These visits include presentations and discussions of diverse research aims and methodologies. Within the study of Russian and Soviet art, the course will introduce you to research at higher levels investigating the commissioning, making, meaning, and purpose of works in a radically shifting cultural and political environment. The dissertation will provide you with disciplined, useful experience in defining and investigating your subject and then structuring, writing, and editing a thesis.

The course will interest students of twentieth-century art history, politics, cultural studies, and Russian studies. Russian language is not essential. German or French may be equally useful. There are intensive language classes are available at the LSE.

Courtauld Course Lecturer

About the lecturer

Maria Mileeva is a specialist in modern Russian culture, specialising in late 19th– and 20th-century Russian art and international avant-garde networks, with a particular interest in museum histories, cultural politics, and cross-cultural exchange. Her specialist knowledge and professional experience embrace cross-currents of European, Russian, and American art in the first half of the 20th century, with a particular focus on Russian, German, and East European cultural politics. Maria received a BA in History of Art at the University of Cambridge (2005), and MA (2006) and PhD (2011) at The Courtauld Institute of Art. Her doctoral thesis examined exhibitions of Western art in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s with a particular focus on the history of the State Museum of New Western Art (GMNZI), Moscow. Maria has also worked as an Assistant Curator of ‘Cold War Modern: Design 1945-1970’, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in autumn 2008. She co-edited and contributed to the book Utopian Reality: Reconstructing Culture in Revolutionary Russia and Beyond (Brill, 2013).

Since finishing her PhD, Maria has taught at The Courtauld Institute of Art and University College London (UCL). In 2016-17, she was an Associated Researcher in the Faculty of Art History, at the European University, St Petersburg. She is currently working on her next book project, which focuses on the evolution of Soviet Socialist Realism in art and criticism between 1930 and 1970. She continues to serve as the Co-director of the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (CCRAC).

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