MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions 1-2 Dec 2010

1 December 2010

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Not One Step Back! Poster Design

* 16. SEROV, VLADIMIR 1910-1968

Not One Step Back! Poster Design c. 1941-42

Pastel on paper, 89 by 64 cm
6,000-8,000 GBP

When during the Second World War the Soviet Union was invaded by Nazi Germany, Vladimir Serov remained in Leningrad. He headed the Leningrad Union of Artists, which had become the headquarters for the city’s production of visual propaganda material for military and political use. In the extremely difficult conditions of the blockade, the famine, the cold, hostile fire and bombing the Leningrad Union of Artists undertook major defensive operations. The artists camouflaged important military targets, published newspapers for the army and navy, and produced leaflets to be dropped over the location of enemy troops as well as political posters.

Among the most talented of this team was the painter and graphic designer Vladimir Serov. His first poster, We Have Fought, We Are Fighting, We’ll Go on Fighting! appeared on the streets of Leningrad on 26 June 1941. In the Fighting Pencil series Serov designed such propaganda masterpieces as Only Forward, Till Our Enemy Is Crushed! and Our Cause Is Right. The Serov sketch now on offer, Not One Step Back!, was also part of this series. Serov’s best poster designs are heroic in character: expressive psychological types of powerful, fierce, steadfast Soviet patriots, unhesitating in their actions, full of hate for the enemy.

Political propaganda posters by such skilled artists as Vladimir Serov are extremely rare in private collections. Most original posters are preserved in major Russian museums. It is therefore with especial pleasure that we now offer this splendid example.

Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
† Indicates Standard VAT scheme applies, and the rate of 20% VAT will be charged on both hammer price and premium.