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 Dmitry Moor

Born:   November 3, 1883
Deceased:   October 24, 1946

Outstanding Russian artist, a master of graphic art, one of the founders of the Soviet political poster


Dmitry Stakhiyevich Moor (real surname was Orlov) was born on October 22 (on November 3), 1883 into the family of a mining engineer in Novocherkassk. In 1898 he moved with his parents to Moscow.

Dmitry Moor did not get systematic art education; in 1910 he attended P.I. Kelin’s school studio. Originally he worked at Mamontov’s Printing House.  From 1907 he had his caricatures published in print media, in particular in the liberal satirical magazine Budilnik.

During his work in the Moscow magazine Budilnik the young artist took the pseudonym Moor, since Karl Moor - the main character of The Robbers by Friedrich Schiller – was akin to the creative temperament of the artist, so passionate and consecutive in his vehement aspirations for politically topical art that would extensively influence the viewers.

The black-and-white ink drawing, which was often accentuated with sharp (usually red) colors, became his favourite technique. In his venomous satires Dmitry Moor conveyed the surrounding social disintegration and struggle against censorship: mini-comic book Humorist and Finger (that is Censorship finger), 1911; drawing the Russian Resorts - treatment by water and iron, - about Lensk execution, 1912.

The selected pseudonym (i.e. the surname of three characters of Schiller’s drama The Robbers) ideally rendered his artistic temperament: firm and assertive, not inclined to good-natured humour.

His posters of the revolution and Civil war period (Have You Volunteered?, Wrangel is Still Alive, Finish him without Mercy!, Red Gift to the White Sir (all from 1920) and Help! (1921)) turned to be milestones of the epoch. The modernist style with its flexible and strong-willed “power lines” reached the peak of propaganda heat, which was effective in directing public emotions (in fact the satire itself here became a part of repressive political censorship). Such was, for example, the image of an emaciated old peasant appealing for help in the poster Help! Stuck near church entrances, it was dramatically convincing people about the justice of taking church finances under the slogan “help those starving in the Volga Region”.

An essential element of Moor’s creativity was antireligious satire as such (the drawings created while being the art director of the Atheist at the Machine magazine, 1923-1928; a series of illustrations to G. Heine's poem Debate, 1929). He also contributed for the central Pravda newspaper and (1920), and the popular satirical Crocodile magazine (from 1922) and other periodicals, as well as created film posters.

In 1928-1932 he was a member of the October association. During the Great Patriotic War the artist drew posters revealing the cruelty of Nazi invaders.
By the end of World War II Dmitry Moor created a cycle of epic illustrations (1944) to the Tale of Igor's Campaign. They express the spirit of national romanticism in the “style of triumph”.

From 1922 he was actively engaged in teaching - in the Higher Art and Technical Studios (aka VKhUTEMAS), Printing Institute and the Surikov Art Institute.

Dmitry Moor died on October 24, 1946 in Moscow.  His autobiographical report “I am a Bolshevik!” was posthumously published in 1967.

The artist’s works are displayed in the Tretyakov Gallery, and V. V. Mayakovsky Museum.

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