Art and Commerce in Late Imperial Russia: The Peredvizhniki, a Partnership of Artists

Please join us for the UK launch of Art and Commerce in Late Imperial Russia: The Peredvizhniki, a Partnership of Artists (New York; London: Bloomsbury Academics, 2019).

Contemporaries of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and predecessors of Diaghilev’s World of Art and the Russian avant-garde, the group of artists known as the Peredvizhniki was no less significant for Russian art and culture of the time. Including virtually every leading painter, notably key representatives of realism and nationalism such as Repin and Shishkin, the group was celebrated for its innovative touring exhibitions around the Russian provinces. The present volume is a seminal recalibration of major scholarly interpretations of the group, ranging from the most misleading of Soviet accounts to Marxist and contemporary socioeconomic readings. A revisionist, comprehensive study, it examines for the first time the organizational structure, the modes of public self-representation, the visual output in original exhibition settings, and the critical reception of the group. Covering the first decades of its existence, the book advances a more pragmatic story of the Peredvizhniki – one of artists trying to prosper and secure professional freedom in authoritarian Tsarist Russia, while modernizing structures and practices in the field of art. Yet, despite this effort, contemporary critics eventually came to define the Peredvizhniki as a radical realist movement, and this volume demonstrates how this curious transformation came about. The book likewise connects afresh the Russian and Western art worlds of the period. The further significance of this contribution lies in its introduction of the methodologies of the social history of art into academic art history in Russia.

Dr Andrey Shabanov

Having received an MA in 2004 in art history from the European University at Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 2013, Andrey Shabanov completed PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Currently, Andrey Shabanov is a Fellow of The Paulsen Programme at LSE and Research Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Art History at the European University at Saint Petersburg, where his teaching and research lies in Russian and Western institutional art history and the history of art exhibitions.

Dr Nicky Kozicharow

Dr Nicky Kozicharow is the Schulman Research Fellow in History of Art at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, an Affiliated Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Cambridge, and Co-Director of the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (CCRAC). She is a specialist in modern and contemporary European and Russian art, and her current book project is entitled Modernism in Exile: Russian Art and Identity Abroad.

Chaired by Professor David Solkin, FBA. Professor Emeritus, The Courtauld Institute of Art.

Editorial Reviews

This groundbreaking work greatly advances our understanding of Russian realist painting, the professionalization of artists, and wider processes of cultural identity formation in the nineteenth century. In recovering the original ethos and agenda of the Peredvizhniki, Shabanov provides a vital revisionist account which uncovers the pragmatic and commercial nature of this well-known but long misunderstood artistic group.

Rosalind P. Blakesley, Professor of Russian and European Art, University of Cambridge, UK

“In his masterful investigation Andrey Shabanov offers an alternative history of Russian Realist art. Confronting and undermining the stereotypes which have long afflicted studies of the peredvizhniki (owing in small degree to the highly tendentious social interpretations by Soviet scholars), Shabanov places artists such as Kramskoi, Perov, and Repin in the practical context of the “art market” of photographic reproduction, advertising, incorporation, and mass distribution. By providing new and often archival information on the pragmatic, promotional, and commercial aspects of the peredvizhniki, Shabanov furnishes us with a luminous and lucid account of one of Russia’s primary artistic attainments.”

John Bowlt, Professor Emeritus, Slavic Languages and Literatures, the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, USA

Organised by Dr Maria Mileeva (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

6:00pm, 1 May 2019

Wednesday 1st May 2019

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, King’s Cross, London




Book Launch