MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions 1-2 Dec 2010

1 December 2010

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Poster Design "400 Million"

* 56. KOPELYAN, ISAAK 1909-2001

Poster Design "400 Million" signed and dated "7/V 29"

Pencil and tempera on paper, 35 by 26 cm
10,000-15,000 GBP

Accompanied by the original lithographic poster, 34.5 by 25 cm.

This eye-catching poster, 400 Million by Isaak Kopelyan, with its jaunty configuration and harmonious colour design, was conceived and executed in 1929, forming part of his diploma project at the Leningrad Academy of Arts. At that time Russian graphic design was dominated by an idiosyncratic, stylised Constructivism, the domestic, “Sovietised” version of Art Deco. Its most brilliant exponents were probably Rodchenko and the Stenberg brothers, whose cinema posters instantly became undisputed classics of the genre. The young Kopelyan, impressed by the work of these outstanding artists, produced extraordinarily beautiful work, very professional and with a certain individuality. This four-colour tempera sketch is enriched by tonal gradations endowing it with a deep, rich colour scheme. The artist corrected the title on the lithographic proof, leaving only the figure. For understandable reasons, after eighty years the informative element of the poster is clearly outdated, which lends a comic overtone to the work but also a historical importance to its basic idea.

Isaak Zalmanovich Kopelyan was a Soviet artist from Leningrad, a book illustrator as well as a publisher. From 1930 he worked at the Western Printing Trades Trust, in charge of the design department of Lenizdat. Throughout his life he produced graphic art and illustrations for books and designed political posters. He played a leading part in the creation of the Leningrad Artist publishing house Leningradsky khudozhnik and the Graphic Arts Combine, and in reviving the Leningrad Fighting Pencil arts and poetry fellowship.

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.