Book Talk. Art and Commerce in Late Imperial Russia: The Peredvizhniki, a Partnership of Artists by Andrey Shabanov

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Please join us for the US launch of Art and Commerce in Late Imperial Russia: The Peredvizhniki, a Partnership of Artists (Bloomsbury Academics, 2019) with author Andrey Shabanov.

Contemporaries of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and predecessors of Diaghilev’s World of Art and the Russian avant-garde, the group of artists known as the Peredvizhniki was no less significant for Russian art and culture of the time. Including virtually every leading painter, notably key representatives of realism and nationalism such as Repin and Shishkin, the group was celebrated for its innovative touring exhibitions around the Russian provinces. The present volume is a seminal recalibration of major scholarly interpretations of the group, ranging from the most misleading of Soviet accounts to Marxist and contemporary socioeconomic readings. A revisionist, comprehensive study, it examines for the first time the organizational structure, the modes of public self-representation, the visual output in original exhibition settings, and the critical reception of the group. Covering the first decades of its existence, the book advances a more pragmatic story of the Peredvizhniki – one of artists trying to prosper and secure professional freedom in authoritarian Tsarist Russia, while modernizing structures and practices in the field of art. Yet, despite this effort, contemporary critics eventually came to define the Peredvizhniki as a radical realist movement, and this volume demonstrates how this curious transformation came about. The book likewise connects afresh the Russian and Western art worlds of the period. The further significance of this contribution lies in its introduction of the methodologies of the social history of art into academic art history in Russia.

Andrey Shabanov is a Research Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Art History at the European University at Saint Petersburg, where his teaching and research lies in Russian and Western institutional art history and the history of art exhibitions.