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One of nine posters by Amshei Niurenberg for Rosta window 753, December 1920, watercolor on paper, 19 1/4 x 14 1/8".

“Rosta”

Galerie Thomas Flor

One of nine posters by Amshei Niurenberg for Rosta window 753, December 1920, watercolor on paper, 19 1/4 x 14 1/8".

Those in power—or those striving for it—often resort to the force of images. Art historian Martin Warnke posits that in the past, rulers might have paid more attention to the creation and propagation of a political iconography than to proper governmental acts. Such imagery, he insists, had to take into account both the sender’s message and the linguistic capacities, expectations, needs, and norms of the receiver. Stalin certainly understood this double coding when, in 1934, he established the method of socialist realism. Apart from illustrating the party’s directives, Soviet art had to express “narodnost,” which roughly translates to something like “national character.” Stalin rejected the formal solutions of the avant-garde, but he embraced their political impetus and, particularly, their foundation in Russian popular-art forms.

Postrevolutionary propaganda like the

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