Tokenhouse and Ada Leintwardine discuss Socialist Realism. [TK143/136] Ada mentions “Svatogh? Gaponenko? Toidze? [TK 144/136-7 ],” citing an article in Fission by Len Pugsley.
We have already examined Socialist Realist work at the Soviet pavilion. Socialist Realism is the name given realistic art that, from the 1920s until the early 1960s, was the state-approved look of art allowed in the Soviet Union. The aim of the works was to show proletarian life, with works relevant to workers, and supporting the aims of the Communist Party and the State. Now that the movement is mentioned, we see that it has been the standard against which Tokenhouse has been judging others, as when he accuses the Surrealists of being “Pseudo-Realists.” [TK 129/122]
Svatogh is probably a misspelled or misremembered reference to Svarogh or Svarog (Spurling, p. 587). Svarog was the Slavic counterpart of Vulcan, the blacksmith god, but here it is the pseudonym taken by a Russian painter and graphic artist, Vassily Semeonovich Korcihkin (1883-1946). His Socialist Realist credentials include membership in the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia and founding the Mitrofan Grekov Studio of War Art.
Taras Gur’evich Gaponenko (1906-1993 ) was a well recognized Soviet artist, best known for his genre scenes of village life and later for his canvases showing the glories and sufferings of World War II.
The painter and graphic artist Irakli Moiseevitch Toidze (1902-1985) is best known for his World War II poster, The Motherland Calls (1941). He won numerous Soviet appointments and awards. He said that the expression of Mother Russia was inspired by the look on his wife’s face when she ran into his studio to tell him that Germany had attacked the Soviet Union. Outlined against the bright red of the revolution is the Soviet Army oath.