Lot 1

KULIKOV, A. Praying at the Wrong Door, 1917

Ne po adresu moleniye [Praying at the Wrong Door], a poster by Afanasy Kulikov (1884-1949). Moscow Artists Group, Moscow, 1917, 27.5 x 36.5 cm.

The poster, likely produced between the February and October Revolutions, clearly reflects the artist's attitude towards war, born out of his short service in the army as a simple soldier.

Kulikov, a graduate of the prestigious Stroganov Technical School for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (referred to simply as the Stroganov School in the rest of this catalog), started producing political lithographs and posters in 1917, working in the lubok poster style that, in the artist's own words, felt natural to him. This should not come as a surprise given the artist's background — he came from a poor peasant family, and started his artistic career as an icon painter's apprentice — and his closeness to the late Mir Iskusstva movement with its interest in Russian antiquities and rural life.

With peasantry accounting for a large portion of Soviet Russia's population, the lubok style of political propaganda remained popular with Soviet publishers at least till the start of the collectivization period. Kulikov therefore enjoyed a fairly robust career as a poster artist, supplementing this line of work by illustrating children's books and producing painted lacquer boxes. In the 1930s, he took part in several large monumentalist projects. With the resurgence of Russians nationalist themes during and after WWII, the artist was able to publish a long series of folklore graphics, in a sense returning to his Mir Iskusstva roots (he also produced historic paintings about the glorious Russian past, like Alexander Nevsky).

Opening Price: $1000

Estimate: $1000-$1500

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