Commentary

Women labouring publicly on collective farms or in the cities (road work, metro building etc) was not unusual from the beginning of the USSR. Women peasants, though, had always had a demanding role in growing food and participating fully in the work load of the rural family.

The scene is near idyllic, indicating to the beleaguered cities that life continued peacefully in the countryside. But Stalin’s introduction of collectivisation, a decade or so before WWII, had not been welcomed. It created great hardship, bringing resistance and famine in many areas.

Facts

TASS window
1039
Title
Fruit and Veg to the Front!
Created
29 August 1944
Artist
V.I. Liushin
Writer
A.A. Zharov
Original dimensions
173cm x 92cm
Collection number
MS 281/1/57

War Context

This Window was designed in August 1944, some three years into the war, to boost output from the collective farming community, and to foreground the role of women.

The Germans had already begun to weaken. Russian soldiers at the front needed to benefit from Russia’s summer produce for the coming winter.

Artistic Roots

Echoes of 1930s socialist realism provide the blue sky, the buxom girl with the sun shining on her, the people in the fields and their rich produce. These details suggest all is right on the Russian home front. No signs of war here, only a happy peasant girl thinking of the soldiers fighting on the front line.

Russians also knew that socialist realism was dedicated to showing the positive, even in the midst of hardship and chaos.

Artist

Vladimir Liushin was a graphic artist and painter. He had a satirical approach in the late 1920s and early 1930s. During the war, he went on to produce cartoonish images, along with this traditional painterly style.

Writer

A. A. Zharov came to prominence as a writer for satirical magazines in the 1920s. His verse here is not at all satiric, but sentimental. He encourages the people to send their best vegetables to the soldiers at the front. The interplay between words and image invites a vision of the hardworking girl on the home front being matched to a heroic soldier at war. Together they will win through.