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Entries / Artistic Unions (entry)

Artistic Unions (entry)

Categories / Art/Fine Arts/Art and Literary Associations

ARTISTIC UNIONS are unions of artists organized for the purposes of establishing joint ideas and aesthetic programmes, developing professional activity, maintaining educational and promotional efforts and charity. The Artists Encouragement Fund (see Artists Encouragement Fund) was the first union of artists founded in 1820 by members of the aristocracy. The first unions established by artists appeared in 1863. In 1870, artists established the Society of the Travelling Exhibition. Since 1880s, St. Petersburg cultural life is in many ways defined by different artistic unions (circles, societies, associations and partnerships) which promote different ideas and aesthetic programs (the World of Arts, the New Society of Artists, and the Youth Union), organized exhibitions and sales (the Society of St. Petersburg Artists, the Artists Association, and the Community of Artists), developed certain kinds of arts (the Society of Russian Water-Colorists) and encouraged charity and education (Kuindzhi Society and the Society of Muessar's Mondays). In 1917-18, Petrograd artistic unions were a part of the Union of Artistic Workers which attempted to lead the renovation of the country's artistic life. The activity of most pre-revolutionary unions ceased in 1918. In 1920s, there appeared several artistic unions pursuing the search for a new style relevant to a new epoch (Zorved, the Circle of Artists, the Masters of Analytical Art, Leningrad branch of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia). The order of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of April 23, 1932 closed all independent artistic societies. The only artistic union in Leningrad was the Leningrad Branch of the Union of Soviet Artists established on August 2, 1932. The Khrushchev spring of the late 1950s and early 1960s allowed the organization of informal artistic unions in which members could go beyond the standards of social realism (Alexander Arefiev's Circle, Petersburg Group, schools of Osip Sidlin, Vladimir Sterligov, Grigory Dlugach, et al). In 1960-70s, several informal unions appeared inside the Leningrad Branch of the Union of Soviet Artists (The Group of Eleven, The Group of Eight, et al). Without any opportunities to participate in official exhibitions of the Union of Artists, members of informal unions organized home exhibitions. Exhibitions held in the Nevsky House of Culture and the Gaza House of Culture (see The Gazanevsky Culture) inspired the creation of the Association of Experimental Exhibitions uniting nonconformist artists in 1975. In 1981, artists established the Association of Experimental Arts. The liberation of art of the state censorship in late 1980s encouraged the development of public and market structures in the sphere of arts. Many unions were organized in St. Petersburg, including Boyevye Slony, Kochevie, Mitki, Novye Dikie, Novye Romantiki St. Peterburga, Novye Simvolisty, Novye Tupye, Novye Khudozhniki, Ostrov, Svoi, 17 Aprelya, Stary Gorod, Svobodnaya Kultura et al. As of 2002, there are over 50 unions operating in St. Petersburg (public organizations, funds, informal groups, et al).

References: Северюхин Д. Я., Лейкинд О. Л. Золотой век художественных объединений в России и СССР (1820-1932): Справ. СПб., 1992.

O. L. Leikind, D.Y. Severyukhin.

Arefiev Alexander Dmitrievich
Dlugach Grigory Yakovlevich
Kuindzhi Arkhip Ivanovich
Sidlin Osip Abramovich
Sterligov Vladimir Vasilievich

Северюхин Д. Я., Лейкинд О. Л. Золотой век художественных объединений в России и СССР (1820-1932): Справ. СПб., 1992

The subject Index
Society for the Encouragement of the Arts
Artel of Artists
St. Petersburg Association of Artists
Travelling Art Exhibitions, Society for
World of Art, Association
New Society of Artists
Youth Union
Saint Petersburg Society of Artists
Association of Artists
Commune of Artists
Society of Russian Watercolorists
Kuindzhi Society
Muessar's Mondays
Circle of Artists, Creative Association
Masters of Analytical Art
Free Culture, association