Knigi — istochnik znaniya. Grazhdane, beregite biblioteki! [Books Are a Source of Knowldege. Citizen, Protect Libraries!], a poster by Nikolai Kupreyanov (1894-1933) and Natalia Iznar - Kupreyanova(1893-1967). Preservation of Cultural Heritage Department of the People's Enlightenment Commissariat, Moscow, 1919, 50.5 x 77 cm.
Nikolai Kupreyanov is considered a very important Soviet graphic artist. Traditionally hailed as a master of xylography, he also excelled in other graphic genres, prompting V. Favorsky to write: â€œKupreyanov was a printmaker, a student of Ostroumova, albeit his style was totally different….As a printmaker, he was very good, but when it came to drawing and watercolor, he was simply outstanding.â€ (cf. â€œNikolai Nikolayevich Kupreyanov: 1894-1933: Khudozhestvenno-literaturnoye naslediye,â€ Iskusstvo, M., 1973.)
Kupreyanov studied art in St. Petersburg/Petrograd (1912-1917). Through this period, he also earned a degree in law (1916), but revolution â€œliberatedâ€ him from pursuing a career in jurisprudence. Kupreyanov started submitting his drawings and woodcuts to newspapers and magazines, produced posters, and obtained a position with the Enlightenment Commissariat; the poster being offered dates to this period. From 1922 onwards, the artist lived in Moscow, teaching at VKhUTEMAS and its reincarnations (1922-30), and later at the State Poligraphic Institute (1930-33). His flourishing artistic and pedagogic career was cut short by a tragic accident â€” Kupreyanov drowned while on vacation.
According to the Russian National Electronic Library online catalogue, this poster was produced by Kupreyanov in collaboration with his wife, the theater artist, book illustrator, and pedagogue Natalia Iznar-Kupreyanova.