CONF: 100 Years of German-Russian Cultural Exchange: The First Russian Art Exhibition at the Galerie van Diemen Berlin in 1922 (Staatsbibliothek Berlin / Zoom; 15-16 Oct 2021)

The Russian Art & Culture Group would like to draw your attention to a forthcoming international conference on the First Russian Art Exhibition (Erste Russische Kunstausstellung) of 1922 in Berlin.

The international conference, 100 Years of German-Russian Cultural Exchange: The First Russian Art Exhibition, will take place as a hybrid event on
October 15-16, 2021 in the Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Saal, Staatsbibliothek Berlin, Potsdamer Straße
and online via Zoom.

Registration deadline: 10 Oct 2021

The First Russian Art Exhibition (Erste Russische Kunstausstellung), which opened in the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin on October 15, 1922, caused a remarkable stir in the Western art world. With Russia having been isolated from the West for almost a decade due to the First World War, the exhibition offered a unique opportunity for a broad Western audience to view first-hand the most recent artistic developments in Russia. The comprehensive exhibition, consisting of at least 237 paintings, more than 500 graphic works, sculptures, stage designs, architectural models, and works of porcelain, had a remarkably broad range that combined rather traditional paintings in a figurative manner by artists such as Abram Arkhipov, Konstantin Korovin, and Boris Kustodiev with the latest creations of the Russian avant-garde, including Cubo-futurist paintings by Nadezhda Udaltsova and Alexandra Exter, Suprematist works by Kazimir Malevich and El Lissitzky, and constructions by Vladimir Tatlin, Naum Gabo, Alexander Rodchenko, and Konstantin Medunetsky.

In view of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the historical exhibition in 2022, Jacobs University Bremen in cooperation with the Berlin State Museums is holding an international conference. The two-day event will present new research on the First Russian Art Exhibition, moving away from the narrow focus on the show’s avant-garde art display and examining instead its broader historical scope and art historical implications. Particular emphasis will be on the intentions of the Soviet state, the expectations of German leftist artists and intellectuals, the goals and organization of the exhibition, the role and participation of individual artists in the show, among them Naum Gabo, El Lissitzky, and David Shterenberg, as well as the reception of the exhibition within artistic and architectural circles in Germany, Central- and Eastern Europe, and Japan in the 1920s, and the whereabouts of the works exhibited.


The conference language is English. The conference is planned as a hybrid event; papers will be presented at the Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Saal of the Staatsbibliothek Berlin, Potsdamer Platz, or via Zoom, and all will be accessible via Zoom. There is the option for a limited number of participants to join the event at the Staatsbibliothek. SARS-CoV-2 infection protection measures are in place for on-site participation. Attendance is free of charge for both options. 

Registration – either for participation on site or via Zoom – until October 10, 2021 is mandatory.
To register, please send an e-mail to

For remote participation, please register via our Zoom-Online-Form

For additional information, visit

Organizers: Prof. Dr. Isabel Wünsche, Miriam Leimer, Ludmila Piters-Hofmann


October 15, 2021
9:00 Registration

9:30 Opening Address
Isabel Wünsche, Jacobs University Bremen
The Promotion and Reception of Russian Art in Weimar Germany

Session 1: German-Russian Cultural Relations after the First World War
Moderation: Isabel Wünsche
10:00 Kaspar Braskén, Åbo Akademi University, Turku
“A Moral Victory for Soviet Russia”: International Communism and Cultural Diplomacy in the Context of the First Russian Art Exhibition
10:30 Éva Forgács, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena
The First Russian Art Exhibition as Response to Crises: Famine in Russia and the Political Left in Germany

11:00 Coffee Break

11:30 Ewa Bérard, National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS-ENS), Paris
An Exhibition in an Armored Train
12:00 Miriam Leimer, University of Hamburg
Showcasing Bolshevik Russia at a Private Gallery in Berlin

12:30-14:00 Lunch Break

Session 2: The Organizers of the First Russian Art Exhibition
Moderation: Miriam Leimer
14:00 Christina Lodder, University of Kent (online)
Naum Gabo as Curator
14:30 Christiane Post, Bergische Universität Wuppertal
The Role of David Shterenberg and Natan Altman in the First Russian Art Exhibition
15:00 Anna Ostrovskaya, independent researcher
The Role of Peter Alma in the Amsterdam Venue of the First Russian Art Exhibition
15:30 Willem Jan Renders, independent researcher
El Lissitzky and the First Russian Art Exhibition

16:00 Coffee Break

16:30-18:00 Irina Hiebert Grun and Kyllikki Zacharias, Nationalgalerie, SMB Berlin
The First Russian Art Exhibition and the Collection of the Neue Nationalgalerie [includes a visit to the Neue Nationalgalerie, for on-site participants only]

Evening Lecture
Moderation: Kyllikki Zacharias
18:30 Natalia B. Avtonomova, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow (online)
The Reconstruction of the Graphics and Sculptural Sections at the First Russian Art

October 16, 2021
9:00 Registration

Session 3: The Reception of the Exhibition
Moderation: Willem Jan Renders
9:30 Maria Mileeva, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Reactions to the First Russian Art Exhibition in the Weimar Republic
10:00 Merse Pál Szeredi, Lajos Kassák Museum, Budapest
Lajos Kassák and the “Russian Material” – A Microhistory of Russian Constructivism in Vienna, 1920–1924
10:30 Linda Boersma, Utrecht University
The Dutch Reception of the First Russian Art Exhibition

11:00 Coffee Break

11:30 Sergei Fofanov, State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
The Reception of the First Russian Art Exhibition in Russia and the First General German Art Exhibition of 1924
12:00 Toshiharu Omuka, University of Tsukuba (online)
The Impact of Russian Art in early 1920s Japan: Conscious Constructionism and the Mavo Movement

12:30-14:00 Lunch Break

Session 4: The Works in the First Russian Exhibition and their Whereabouts
Moderation: Miriam Leimer
14:00 Liubov Pchelkina and Irina Kochergina, State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (online)
Art Works from the Collection of the Moscow Museum of Painterly Culture in the First Russian Art Exhibition
14:30 Irina Karasik, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg (online)
The Participation of the Petrograd Museum of Artistic Culture in the First Russian Art Exhibition

15:00 Coffee Break

15:30 Dilyara Sadykova, Krasnodar Regional Art Museum F.A. Kovalenko (online)
Art Works from the First Russian Art Exhibition in the Collection of the Krasnodar Regional Art Museum F.A. Kovalenko
16:00 Iryna Makedon, independent researcher, Kiev
Art Works from the First Russian Art Exhibition in Ukrainian State Museums
16:30 Naila Rahimova, Azerbaijan National Museum of Art, Baku (online)
The Russian Avant-garde in the Collection of the Azerbaijan National Museum of Art

Concluding Lecture
Moderation: Isabel Wünsche
17:00 Ilia Doronchenkov, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow (online)
The Idea and Concept of an International Art