At the height of tensions during the cold war, Russian artists never imagined their work being appreciated outside the eastern bloc. But in 1960 the American art collector Eric Estorick travelled to the Soviet Union and was so taken with the work of artists from Leningrad Experimental Graphics Laboratory that he bought up hundreds of works, exhibiting them at his Grosvenor Gallery in London in 1961. Inspired by that landmark show, the Estorick gallery is now mounting a display of work by 15 such artists. “Estorick recognised the significance of this community even before Russian art historians,” says curator Marie Stock. “These works represent the so-called ‘thaw’ period in the USSR when artists began to express a more authentic and individualised reality of everyday life with their own personal ideas, sincerity and humour.”

Lithography from Leningrad: Eric Estorick’s Adventure in Soviet Art, 20 Nov-22 Dec, The Estorick Collection, London N1

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