Worker and Farmer. Cover Design for the Anniversary Issue of the Magazine "Petrograd", signed and dated 1923.
Pencil and watercolour on paper, 27 by 23 cm
Provenance: Collection of I. Angenitski, Kiev
Exhibited:Vsesoyuznaya vystavka proizvedenii B.M. Kustodieva, The Kiev State Museum of Russian Art, label on the reverse.
Literature: Etkind, M.G. (ed.), Boris Mikhailovich Kustodiev, Leningrad-Moscow, 1960, p. 205. Etkind, M.G. (ed.), Boris Mikhailovich Kustodiev, Leningrad, Khudozhnik RSFSR, 1967, p. 258. Boris Mikhailovich Kustodiev, Moscow, Sovetski Khudozhnik, 1982, p. 368, No. 2300, listed.
Boris Kustodiev’s fame as an outstanding painter sometimes eclipses his evident success in the area of graphic design. However, there is no branch of graphic art in which the artist
could not have demonstrated real mastery as a draughtsman and watercolourist. He practised easel-painting — both landscape and portrait graphics — as well as theatre design, book illustration, woodcut printing, magazine covers and propaganda posters. Kustodiev was a genuine virtuoso in all graphic techniques.
Executed with the humour and elegance for which he is renowned, the economy of a poster design and a particular “fairground” decorativism unique to Kustodiev, the Cover we now present also has historical and artistic validation. For Kustodiev’s close friend, the artist Vsevolod Voinov, wrote in his diary for 1923 the following:
“9 October. Around six o’clock went to Kustodiev’s. Boris
Mikhailovich showed me his most recent works and those done in the summer, which I hadn’t yet seen. Among them the cover for the anniversary issue of Petrograd magazine. A splendid watercolour. It shows a peasant and a worker, sitting by a column, above which flies a red flag with the letters ‘USSR’. At the feet of the peasant, a mound of fruit and sheaves of corn. The worker reads aloud from a book. In the background, a village and a town. Cranes, a railway, factories, fields and so on. A beautiful sky with white clouds.” (M.G. Etkind, 1967, p. 258).