Marking the 70th anniversary of the Victory in Europe, Art Russe has brought to a successful close its exhibition The Legacy of WWII in Russian Art, the first such event in the UK dedicated to providing an insight into the portrayal of World War II and its impact on Russian art. The exhibition, which brought together paintings and sculptures, most of which have never before been on public display in the UK, has attracted over 21,000 visitors in less than five weeks.

The exhibition displayed art from Russia, juxtaposing it with graphic works created by Britain’s Ministry of Information during the Second World War. Londoners and tourists alike saw works by some of the most celebrated XXth century Russian artists including Aleksandr Laktionov’s Letter from the Front; Vera Mukhina’s sculpture Worker and Kolkhoz Woman, the Tkachev brothers’ By the Well; and Mai Danzig’s monumental canvas And the World Remembers the Saviours. The curators’ intent was to stimulate a dialogue about the common legacy that war leaves with artists of all generations.

The theme has clearly resonated with the audience, demonstrating very impressive results for a private exhibition of this scale. During the course of the exhibition, visitors have bought over 3,000 catalogues and more than 1,200 copies of Viktor Popkov - a Russian Painter of Genuis, a volume published by Art Russe as part of its series of books about famous Russian artists.

Works by Russian artists displayed in London were also included in the virtual art gallery set up during the video relay of the FIDE chess world championship match (Sochi, Russia, 16 March – 6 April 2015). The virtual exhibition was organised as part of the cooperation agreement signed between Art Russe and the Russian Chess Federation (RCF).

During the three days of the tournament the exhibition was seen by more than a million viewers from 201 countries, including Ukraine, the US, France, Germany, India, China, Indonesia, Uruguay and Costa Rica. The Russian Chess Federation provided an online video relay of the championship in English and Russian on the tournament website and on its own website. The technology for staging online exhibitions during Internet broadcasting of chess tournaments was first used in 2012, during the world chess championship match that was held in the State Tretyakov Gallery, and offered a new tool for promoting educational projects aimed at supporting and popularising twentieth-century Russian art.

Andrey Filatov, founder of Art Russe, said: “The exhibition was clearly a success, attracting thousands of visitors in a city renown for its extremely busy cultural scene. We are very pleased that an international audience has shown such interest in works depicting this tragic and heroic part of our shared history. These artists are widely admired in Russia but are still mostly unknown in the West. I look forward to building on this success to bring more Russian artists to London and other capitals of the world.”

The Legacy of WWII in Russian Art is Art Russe’s second exhibition project in London. Last year, Art Russe initiated and supported the first UK retrospective of one of the key artists of the Severe Style, Viktor Popkov, at Somerset House. The second exhibition has shown a broad selection of Russian artists, presenting the easily readable, pictorial narratives of Socialist Realism alongside works that demonstrate a great degree of self-knowledge, humanity and awareness.