Kongiser Naum Aleksandrovich
ART EXPERTISE ATTRIBUTION CONSULTATION
Subject of visual art expertise research: Model by Naum Kongiser, Leningrad, State Porcelain Factory, 1927 Overglaze paintwork on porcelain Height: 25 cm Impressed mark in clay: Sickle, hammer, part of a gear, and the year 1927 Signature of the artist on the bottom: “N.Kongiser 1927.” Molder’s mark done by hand: “AL.” Radio for the Village is a two-figure composition: an old man sitting on a tree stump listening to the radio on headphones; a boy in a pioneer neckerchief is standing nearby. The boy is turning the radio dial with his left hand and has his right hand on the old man’s shoulder. The old man is dressed in a red shirt and black pants, and has bast shoes on his feet. The boy is in blue shorts and white shorts. The base has an irregular form and is not very high. The base is signed under the glaze: “N. Kongiser 1927.” On the bottom of the sculpture, there is an impressed underglaze mark in the clay: a sickle, a hammer, and part of a gear with a date of 1927 in a circle; there is a sculptor and molder’s overglaze mark in the clay: “AL.” Over the course of the visual art expertise examination, and on the basis of comparing the porcelain clay, glaze, overglaze painting with available samples of pieces of this period, as well as on the basis of deciphering the signature on the base and the mark and molder’s mark on the base of the figurine, it has been established that the sculpture being examined was executed at the State Porcelain Factory In 1927. The model was created by Naum Kongiser (1904-1984), a sculptor educated at the Higher Art and Technical Institute in Leningrad. He studied under the famous sculptors Matvei Manizer and Leopold Ditrikh. Kongiser was the artist behind many easel sculptures and he worked with various materials (plaster, bronze, porcelain, and others). He participated in numerous exhibitions.
His work Radio for the Village was on display in 1927 at the exhibition Art of the Peoples of the USSR (Moscow) in honor of the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution. Radio for the Village, the sculpture presented for an attribution consultation, is a rare example of porcelain art of the State Porcelain Factory of the 1920s done from a model by Naum Kongiser. There is no evidence of other models by this sculptor executed in porcelain. The size of the sculpture and the complexity of its molding allow us to assume that a limited number of copies were made of this composition. Its omission in well-known monographs on porcelain of this period also shows how rare this sculpture is. This sculpture is also not found in major museum collections. Only one example of this sculpture without paintwork is known, and it is in the collection of the Aleksandr Bely Museum of Fine Arts (Ilyichyovsk, Ukraine). The sculpture was made by one of the best molders of the Imperial/State Porcelain Factory, Anatoly Lukin, who was from a line of artisans. He began working at the factory in 1876. He was entrusted to execute the most complex models, such as in 1914, when Lukin created the sculpture of Tamara Karsavina from Serafim Sudbinin’s model, which only had one point of support. During the Soviet era, Lukin’s mastery was highly valued and the factory; he was assigned to the top group and the top category. The artist had the right to place his monogram, “AL.” The sculpture Radio for the Village is an authentic work of the State Porcelain Factory from 1927, and is of enormous interest to collectors and museum collections.
Art expert, Member of the National Organization of Experts in the Area of Art, Elena Vorushilina