up arrow Windows On The War


During the Second World War, the Soviet news agency TASS commissioned artists and writers to help generate support for Soviet war policy. As the German army pushed toward the capital, a group of artists waged their own sort of battle from inside a Moscow studio. The team produced hundreds of propaganda posters, nearly one for every day of the war.

Although the war created shortages, the art department seemingly spared no expense. These posters were between five and ten feet tall and utilized large blocks of ink. They were plastered throughout the country and they remained an iconic depiction of the Great Patriotic War for the generation who fought it. They were also mailed abroad. The posters were delivered to allied and neutral nations as cultural ambassadors for the Soviet cause.

One recipient of these posters was the Art Institute of Chicago. Its curators placed them in storage where they were soon forgotten. When the Institute underwent renovation in 1997, a trove a now-brittle Soviet era propaganda posters was discovered on a shelf deep in a storage area in the Department of Prints and Posters.  The idea of a major exhibition immediately began to take shape. The pieces were carefully restored and many were placed under glass.

The Institute selected 157 posters for an exhibition entitled Windows On The War.  According to Reuters, they were selected in order to provide a diary of war. From the devastating early losses to the gallant defense of Stalingrad to the final defeat of Hitler the exhibition tells the story of the Great Patriotic War. It opens on July 31 continues through October 23.

[Art Institute of Chicago]