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 Boris Yefimov

Born:   September, 15th (28), 1900
Deceased:   October, 1st, 2008

Ukranian-born Soviet and Russian caricature artist.


Boris Yefimov was one of the greatest caricaturists of the Soviet epoch, an artist who caustically derided all sorts of public enemies starting from the Civil War.

Boris Yefimov (Fridlyand - real surname) was born in Kiev on September, 15th (28), 1900. He was born into the family of Yefim Moiseyevich Fridlyand (1860—1945) a shoemaker, and Rakhil Savelyevna (1880—1969). Boris started to draw from the age of five. After his parents moved to Belostok Boris entered a non-classical secondary school, where his elder brother Michael was also studying. At school they jointly published a hand-written school magazine. Boris’ brother (the future publicist and columnist Michael Koltsov) was its editor, and Boris was an illustrator. In 1915 Boris found himself in Kharkov — it was the time of World War I, and the Russian armies were compelled to leave the city of Belostok.

In 1917 Boris Yefimov was a 6th grade pupil of a school in Kharkov. Next year he moved to Kiev. In 1918 Boris Yefimov’s first caricature of Alexander Block appeared in the Kiev magazine “Zritel” (Spectator). In 1919 Yefimov became one of the secretaries of the publishing department of the People’s Commissariat of Military Affairs of Soviet Ukraine.

Starting from 1920 Boris Yefimov worked as a caricaturist in several Soviet newspapers, such as The Communard, The Bolshevik, and Visti (News) and headed the department of graphic propaganda in Odessa.

In 1922 the artist moved to Moscow, where he contributed for the Pravda and Izvestiya newspapers, Krokodil magazine, and since Chudak magazine from 1929.

After the political arrest of his brother Michael Koltsov, Boris shifted to book illustrations. From 1941, however, he returned to the genre of political caricature.

From 1966 to 1990 Boris Yefimov was the editor-in-chief of the creative-production association "Propaganda poster". The artist became famous as the author of politically topical caricatures on international themes.

On a par with Kukryniksy (Mikhail Kupriyanov, Porfiri Krylov and Nikolai Sokolov), Boris Prorokov, Vitaly Goryachev, Yuri Ganf and others, Boris Yefimov was among the most well-known Soviet caricaturists during the Great Patriotic War.

He actively participated in all political campaigns of the Soviet government: struggle against the so-called "social-fascists" - social-democratic parties of the West, struggle against followers of Trotsky, Bukharin, etc., against cosmopolitans, geneticists, Vatican, “doctors-murderers”, Marshal Tito, “enemy voices” — American and Western European radio stations, etc.

In August, 2002 Boris Yefimov became the head of Caricature Art Department of Russian Academy of Arts.

On September, 28th, 2007, on his 107th birthday, he was appointed to the post of the chief artist of the Izvestia Newspaper, one of the central newspapers in Russia.

Even at the age of 107 Boris Yefimov still continued working. He mainly wrote memoirs and drew friendly caricatures, took an active part in public life, appearing at every possible memorable and anniversary meeting and event.

In all his born days Boris Yefimov drew more than 50 thousand caricatures. The master’s last exhibition under the title “History Lessons in Caricatures” was held in the Moscow New Manege Exhibition Centre in November, 2007.

Boris Yefimov died in Moscow, aged 108, on October, 1st, 2008 and was laid to rest at Novodevichy Cemetery.

Tags: Russian artists Boris Yefimov Russian Painters   

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