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Stalinist Architecture – Achievements of Soviet Agriculture 1954

Vsesoiuznaia Sel'skokhoziaistvennaia Vystavka. Pavil'ony i sooruzheniia [The All-Union Agricultural Exhibition. Pavilions and structures].

Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo izobrazitel'nogo iskusstva, 1954. Quarto (29 × 22 cm). Original cloth over boards; 152 pp.

A photo-album of the “definitive” 1954 version of The All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (today known as VDNKh; Vystavka Dostizhenii Narodnogo Khoziaistva), which re-opened in grand Stalinist style shortly after the leader’s death. The album captures the architectural details, sculptures, fountains and other decorative elements of the exhibition grounds and contains photographs of all the cental exhibition pavillions, with every Soviet republic (Azerbaijan, Ukraine etc.) as well as certain regions (Siberia, Ural) represented by its own pavillion. Elements of the local aesthetics and architecture were incorporated into the pavilion designs, with each structure surrounded by gardens containing plants native to the repsective regions. Various facets of the Soviet ecompy (“Forestry”, “Bee keeping”, “Grapes and winemaking” etc.) were also represented by individual pavillions. The Soviet architect and exhibition designer Rudolph Kliks (1910–1997) headed the project and edited this album with cover design by the monumental painter Yuri Yegorov (1926–2008).

Opened in 1939 to showcase the “Achievements of National Economy” the enormous park (over 500 acres) and exhibition grounds were shut down during WWII. A triumphant two-year reconstructoon was initiated in 1948, with a 30 meter bronze statue of Stalin planned at the entrance to the park. When the exhibition finally opened in June 1954, the sculpture was scrapped but many of the markers of Stalin’s “high clasicizm” in the architecture and decorative elements of the exhibiton remained and are well documented in this album by major Soviet photograhers such as Mikhail Trakhman and Vadim Kovrigin. By November of the same year, the “architectural excesses” associated with Stalinist culture came under harsh criticism from the government and were subsequently removed with this album becoming a rare document of the original constructions. Modernist buildings and facades were added throughout the 1960s and 1970s, altering the grounds further. A recent reconstruction of the park, started in 2013, with the aim of removing most of the modernist elements and returning the park to the 1954 version captured in this album, marking this rendition of the park as “definitive”. This text came out in a variety of foreign languages including French, German, Chinese and Albanian. Contains photographs of F. Akimov, D. Kozlov, I. Lebedev, A. Teleshov, O. Frenkel’, and Vorob’yev.

As of October 2020, KVK and OCLC show copies at Cambridge, National Library of Israel, Stanford, Getty, and the National Library of Australia.

Book ID: 50968

Price: $750.00