Partiya i Lenin — bliznetsy brat'ya [The Party and Lenin Are Twin Brothers], a poster by Nikolai Denisov (1917-1982, Meritorious Art Worker of the Russian Federation) and Nina Vatolina (1915-2002). Iskusstvo, Moscow-Leningrad, 1940, 69 x 101.5 cm.
The larger-than-life topic of the poster easily lends itself to a romantic symbolist solution, but for 1940, it is highly atypical, as is the absence of any references to Stalin. It is as if the artists jumped 20 years forward in time — before checking out the imprint, this describer was pretty sure that it was produced in the late years of the Khrushchev era.
While they were married (up until 1946), Vatolina and Denisov (son of the famous posterist Viktor Deni) mostly produced posters as a team; the only exception is 1943-5, when Vatolina lived alone in Moscow, and Denisov, called to military duty upon graduation, served as a military artist elsewhere. Both continued to produce posters on their own after 1946, although Denisov primarily concentrated on painting. Vatolina, on the other hand, produced posters with regularity and is considered by art historians to be the leading female Soviet poster artist of the 1940s-50s. Once retired, however, she showed no interest in returning back to the field, claiming that she was never really interested in the poster genre and, given a choice, would rather pursue other art forms — a somewhat unexpected statement from the artist whom Viktor Deni considered the best of his students.