Da zdravstvuyet ravnopravnaya zhenshchina strani sotsializma! [All Hail Women, Equal in Rights to Men in the Land of Socialism!], a poster by Pyotr Karachentsov (1907-1998, Meritorious Art Worker of the RSFSR). Published by Iskusstvo, Leningrad-Moscow, 1939. 91.5 x 58.5 cm.
Women’s equal rights were enshrined in the Soviet Constitution; thus, Stalinist ideologues claimed emancipation of women as a major achievement of the regime. Modern historians point out that Stalin’s record when it comes to women rights is rather spotted, and that nominal legal protections did not amount to actual equality. Furthermore, some Stalinist era laws were outright regressive, rolling back some rights granted to women immediately after the Revolution. For example, Soviet Russia was the first country in Europe to legalize abortion (1920), but under Stalin, abortion was again declared illegal (1936).
The earliest Pyotr Karachentsov poster we have encountered so far was produced in 1927 (with M. Dlugach; see lot 31 in our last sale). At the time, the young artist was a freshman at Moscow VKhUTEIN. Possibly encouraged by this early success, he decided to specialize in print graphics; reportedly, he was one of Moor’s favorite students, and Moor continued mentoring him after graduation. Karachentsov continued to work in the poster genre through his artistic career, and also became a highly successful newspaper and magazine artist and book illustrator.