This volume is a collection of Post World War II caricatures produced by the “Kukryniksy”, a trio of artists who met in the early 1920’s at the ВХУТЕМАС (Высшие хужожественно-технические мастерские, “Higher Art and Technical Studios”): Mikhail Vasil’evich Kupriianov (1903-91), Porfirii Nikitich Krylov (1902-90) and Nikolai Alexandrovich Sokolov (1903-2000). The group’s moniker was a conflation of the members’ names and surnames, and their functioning as a single unified artistic agent was presented – both by the artists themselves and in the contemporary Soviet reception of their works – as an exemplary instantiation of the Soviet ethos of triumphant collectivism.
“Our collective, to tell the truth, is made up of four artists: Kupriianov, Krylov, Sokolov and the Kukryniksy. All three of us treat the fourth with great care … that which is created by the collective is beyond any of our individual capabilities.”*
Known primarily for their caricatures produced for satirical publications and agitprop materials, the Kukryniksy also produced paintings in the Realist and Socialist-Realist traditions, taking for their subjects contemporary political and military figures and events, as well as Soviet literary works and literary works from the nineteenth-century Russian canon. They held to a strictly orthodox Soviet ideological orientation in all their works. Their paintings lionized the heroes of the Revolution and of the Great Patriotic War, and vilified their domestic monarchist and foreign Nazi-Fascist foes. In their caricatures their early-1930s satirical targets were kulaks and other domestic class enemies of the proletarian dictatorship, who gave way to the Spanish Fascists later in that decade and to the Nazis during the second half of World War II. The Kukryniksy were awarded the Stalin Prize numerous times for plying their art in the service of the Soviet State and using their trenchant and sardonic visual wit against its enemies.
In this 1951 assembly of caricatures the Kukryniksy take satirical aim at the Soviet people’s newest antagonists, their erstwhile allies against the Nazi scourge – the English and American Capitalist Imperialists.
This purchase was financed by the Slavic and Graphic Arts funds
The volume is housed in the Princeton University Library Graphic Arts Collection.
*“Наш коллектив, по правде говоря, состоит из четырех художников : Куприянова, Крылова, Соколова и Кукрыниксы. К последнему мы все трое относимся с большой бережностью и заботой … то, что создано коллективом, не смог бы осилить любой из нас в отдельности.” Вавилов, С.И. (глав. ред.). Большая советская энциклопедия. 2. изд. Москва : Большая советская энциклопедия. 1950-1958.