Chicago museum's unearthed Soviet posters a diary of war

Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:44pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The horrors and heroism of World War Two are given a fresh look in an Art Institute of Chicago exhibition of rediscovered Soviet propaganda posters, which depict Hitler as blood-thirsty, anxious and perverse.

One poster in the "Windows on the War" exhibition, opening to the public on Sunday, features a caricature of a worried Hitler hiding a crude hand gesture under his cap while Joseph Goebbels orates nervously.

Another poster produced by Moscow's TASS studios depicts a fearsome, wolf-like Nazi drooling as Allied bombs fall; and another depicts heroic partisans blowing up a Nazi supply train and firing at escaping soldiers.

"Despite the tyranny of Stalin, creativity flourished" in the former Soviet Union as artists felt motivated to contribute to the war effort, said Jill Bugajski of the Art Institute, one of the curators of the exhibition of some 250 posters, paintings and mementos that continues through October 23.


"I want the pen to be on par with the bayonet," wrote poet and poster contributor Vladimir Mahakovsky, who wrote captions and poems that adorned the posters.

A cache of the now-brittle posters were discovered in 1997 sitting on a shelf in one of the Art Institute's storage closets during a renovation. Two paper rolls and 26 parcels containing the forgotten works were unfolded, restored and some placed behind plexiglass for the exhibition.

Three hundred artists and writers produced some 1,400 poster designs in Moscow's TASS' studios, which was part of the telegraph and news agency.   Continued...

<p>One of Chicago Museum's unearthed Soviet posters is seen in this image released to Reuters on July 28, 2011. REUTERS/The Art Institute of Chicago/Handout</p>