The subject of this article is agitprop fabrics manufactured in the Ivanovo-Voznesensk region of Russia in the 1920s and 1930s and now held at the Dmitry Burylin Museum of Local History in Ivanovo. The city of Ivanovo lies approximately two hundred miles north-east of Moscow and is part of the famous “Golden Ring.” Agitprop textiles are an exciting chapter in the history of Russian industrial design, reflecting the culture and spirit of the post-revolutionary era, and a theme that has recently aroused growing national and international interest.

Agitprop fabrics are an example of both the predominant visual style in the age of the First Five-Year Plan and the deliberate attempts to stamp out the remaining vestiges of the old tsarist regime in this period. The demand for new fabrics was driven not by economic factors, but by the political goal of creating a new world of purely Soviet household objects. The ultimate aim was to immerse citizens in a whole new environment, one reflecting the ideals of Socialism.

Cotton fabrics with agitprop designs were mostly made at factories in the city of Ivanovo and such neighbouring towns and villages as Shuya, Kokhma and Teikovo. In 1927, the Dmitry Burylin Museum of Local History in Ivanovo began collecting these fabrics, including the “Book of Stickers of Textile Patterns” of the Central Drawing Studio for 1928–30, which museum employees found in the archives of the former Bolshaya Ivanovo Manufactory in 2007. A large jotter into which specimens of designs and patterns were glued, the “Book of Stickers” contains important data on the time spent on creating each pattern, how much the artists were paid, and the conclusions of the art council on the confirmation or rejection of designs and textile patterns. This unique information has helped to verify and sometimes reattribute fabrics – and, in some cases, even to reattribute patterns in the museum collection.


Random articles