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 Ivan Shadr

Born:   January 30, 1887
Deceased:   April 3, 1941

Russian Sculptor and Artist


One of the most prominent Soviet Russian sculptors Ivan Shadr became far-famed after his sculpture Woman with an Oar was replicated with a countless host of cheap plaster copies, which decorated numerous Soviet parks and vacation resorts.

Ivan Dmitrievich Shadr (real surname is Ivanov) was born in the town of Shadrinsk (now the Kurgan region) on January 30 (February 11), 1887 into the family of a carpenter. The name of the native town prompted the artists pseudonym. In youth he worked as a merchants clerk. From 19011906 he studied at the Yekaterinburg Arts and Crafts School.Ivan Shadr in his Moscow studio After having walked on foot to St. Petersburg he entered three institutions at once there: in 19071909 he was a student of the Higher Courses of Drama School, Music and Drama School (he had good vocal faculty) and Drawing School of the Artists Encouraging Society, where the famous Nicolay Roerich was his teacher. The aspiring artist went on his studies in academies of Paris and Rome from 1910 to 1912. After returning to his motherland he lived in Moscow and in 19191921 in Omsk.

One of his first independent works was the project of the Monument to World Sufferings (1916), later transformed to the still grander and yet unfulfilled Monument to Humanity.

In the 1920s following the governmental plan of monumental propaganda he created reliefs depicting the Socialist ideological leaders Karl Marx, Karl Liebknecht, and Rosa Luxemburg, and also carried out a big order for the series of round sculptures for Goznak: the figures of Worker, Sower, Red Army Soldier, and Peasant were supposed to serve as images for banknotes, bonds and stamps.

Those monetary fellows remarkable for their vigorous and dynamic typical characters, can be seen nowadays in the Russian Museum (plaster casts) and in the Tretyakov Gallery (bronze sculptures). Cobble is Proletarian Weapon The realistic verisimilitude combined with poster-like generalized expressiveness of these figures was in accord with the principles of Soviet aesthetics taking shape.

The man-fighting-nature theme was developed in the large-scale high relief Struggle with the Soil (1922). Later there came the Lenin subject matter started with the life sculpture Lenin in Coffin (1924) and followed with monuments to the leader set up in Georgia (1925-26; dismantled in 1991), at the Izhorsk Factory in Leningrad (1932), and in Gorki (the Moscow Region) (1934) . The famous figure of the fighting worker under the title Cobble is Proletarian Weapon (1927) is a perfect example of Shadrs heroic monuments.

In 19341936 the artist was working on the sculpture Woman with an Oar for the Gorky Park in Moscow. The student Vera Voloshina (1919-1941), was sitting to the sculpture. The Moscow original sculpture was destroyed during bombing in 1941; Vera Voloshina heroically perished the same year. Woman with an Oar Later the Woman with an Oar was multiplied with a great number of plaster copies that thronged parks and squares of all Soviet cities.

The so-called academic modern inherent in the official Soviet sculpture was of a particularly spirited and romantic tint with Ivan Shadr. Such is, for instance, the image of Alexei Gorky the Stormy Petrel (bronze, 1939, the Tretyakov Gallery). More classical is the monument to Gorky created by Vera Mukhina after Shadrs sketch in 19391951 and set up by the Byelorussky Railway Terminal in Moscow.

The best of his grave monuments, those to N. S. Alliluyeva (1933) and E. N. Nemirovich-Danchenko (1039) of marble and granite (Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow), are outstandingly poetical plastic works.

Ivan Shadr died in Moscow on April 3, 1941.



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