The Divorce Office- 1924
Watercolor and ink on paper
Signed in Latin lower left
Verso inscribed with title and date in Russian and English
5.25 inches x 8.75 inches (13.3 x 24.6 cm)
Vladimir Fedorovich Kadulin (Russian/American 1883 - after 1950) was a talented and once wildly successful satirical artist whose fame spanned just a little over 20 years. He began his studies at the age of 19 entering the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1902 and later transferred to the Kiev Art Academy. Around 1905, due to financial necessity, Kadulin had to abandon his oils and academy studies in lieu of the more lucrative watercolor renderings he was becoming known for amongst his fellow students and which poked fun at most every segment of society. So amusing and witty were his watercolors that a local publisher took interest and printed a group of them as color postcards, they sold like hotcakes. As Kadulin’s popularity grew he continued to push the envelope in the realm of political satire that in turn caught the eye of government officials after which time he began to sometimes sign his works with the transparent pseudonyms K. Doolin and Waldemar K. Collectors have identified over 200 different “types” of Kadulin postcards covering a vast array of subjects.
Like many artists, after the Revolution of 1917 Kadulin left Russia eventually settling in New York where it seems he continued to paint, producing a variety of subjects including illustrations and Russian themed landscapes, although he never experienced the success he had in his native homeland. All of the offered lots in this sale were executed between the years 1918-1924; four of them illustrated a story about Russian festivals which ran in the New York Times Magazine, October of 1926.
When carefully examining the offered watercolors, it is easy to understand why the new Communist nation was not one that would welcome an artist such as Kaduilin whose works almost 100 years later, still resonate with those who grew up in the Soviet system and as such reflect the real attitude of many Russians which was violently suppressed by the Soviet government. The offered lots beautifully execute a well know adage which states, The intelligentsia started the Revolution and the Revolution killed the intelligentsia. The result, as depicted in these water colors, is that more often than not capable trained bureaucrats were replaced with uneducated peasants or worse criminals.