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1925

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1935

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2014

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Poster, The Reality of Our Program...Six Conditions for Victory, 1931

This is a Poster. It was designed by Gustav Klucis. It is dated 1931 and we acquired it in 2014. Its medium is lithograph on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Gustav Klutsis ranks among the greatest graphic designers to come out of Soviet Russia. He achieved his most important graphic work as a photomonteur, a practitioner of photomontage. Klutsis claimed to have created politically-charged photomontage. Throughout his career Klutsis tried to negotiate the supreme power of the leader with the strength of the proletariat. In his early posters Lenin appears as the dominant figure; later, he depicted Lenin and Stalin as equals, and eventually began to glorify Stalin as a living god. This gradual shift from Leninist to Stalinist iconography can be traced in many Soviet posters, but Klutsis was one of the principal architects of the cult of Stalin.
This theme is illustrated by the 1931 poster, The Reality of Our Program is Living People, You and I. Characteristic of Klutsis, is the use of diagonal lines to convey movement and project the forward force of the communist state. The poster represents Stalin in his ascendancy, accentuating his human and comradely characteristics. He strides along next to a phalanx of marching coal miners in an overcoat and cap, like a man of the people. The poster’s subtext, “Six Conditions for Victory,” refers to his speech delivered on June 23, 1931 to a conference of business leaders in which he outlined aspects of his Five Year Plan to achieve economic recovery: Manpower, Wages, Organization of Work, New Methods of Work, New Methods of Management, etc. One mockup of this poster shows Stalin much larger than the masses, which play a more subordinate role. However, in the published poster, Stalin is reduced in size to equal that of the coal miners in a more egalitarian portrayal. In subsequent posters Stalin is enlarged to a massive scale, one of the techniques Klutsis used to portray Stalin’s heroic stature.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled Revolution in a Grid of Dots.

This object was donated by Merrill Berman. It is credited Gift of Merrill C. Berman in honor of Ellen Lupton.

  • Object ID #18758429
  • offset lithograph, stencil and black spray paint on wove paper.
  • Gift of Sara and Marc Benda.
  • 2010-21-110

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Its dimensions are

H x W: 72.2 × 102.9 cm (28 7/16 × 40 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Poster, The Reality of Our Program...Six Conditions for Victory, 1931; Designed by Gustav Klucis (Latvian, 1895–1938); Russia; lithograph on paper; H x W: 72.2 × 102.9 cm (28 7/16 × 40 1/2 in.); Gift of Merrill C. Berman in honor of Ellen Lupton; 2014-20-5

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68724323/ |title=Poster, The Reality of Our Program...Six Conditions for Victory, 1931 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=26 March 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>