Soviet Postcards, Part 6: L.F. Mileeva

This item comes from a series featuring artists from Ryazan. This oil painting is entitled “Natasha”.

L.F. Mileev - Наташа (Natasha) (1929)

L.F. Mileeva – Наташа (Natasha) (1929)

Lubov Fedorova Mileeva (1894-1930) was born in Ryazan, but worked in Leningrad, the Ukraine, the Caucasus and Central Asia. She graduated from the Art School Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts in 1914 and collaborated on two prominent Soviet magazines. She participated in ethnographic expeditions and in 1926, created a series of works devoted to the peasants of Ryazan. In addition to being a painter, she was also a skilled draftsman and noted illustrator of children’s books. She won numerous awards during her short career including a gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1925 and a posthumous solo exhibition of her work was held in Ryazan in 1936. Collections of her work can be found in the State Russian Museum and the Ryazan State Regional Art Museum.

Soviet Postcards? Part 5: A.A. Ivanov

Strictly speaking, this is not a Soviet postcard as the Soviet regime was officially dissolved in late 1991 and the card displaying this image was issued in 1998.  Nonetheless, it does demonstrate the Russian dedication to continuing its legacy in the arts*.

This sketch was probably not given an official title by the artist and if you read on, you will learn why. The postcard simply offers the title “Nude Nature-Girl” and was part of a series dedicated to old and modern masters issued by the International Academy of Information.

A.A. Ivanov - Обнаженная девочка-натурщица (1830-1840)

A.A. Ivanov – Обнаженная девочка-натурщица (1830-1840)

Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov (1806–1858) studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts under his father, Andrei A. Ivanov. Because his painting adhered to a waning tradition of Neoclassicism, he received little respect from his peers. He has been called the master of one work, for it took 20 years to complete his magnum opus, The Appearance of Christ before the People (1837–57), now in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Critical judgment about the artist improved in the following generation and some of the sketches he had prepared for The Appearance are now regarded as masterpieces in their own right. The most comprehensive collection of his works can be viewed at the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.

*For you sticklers, I do realize that the Soviet Union is not exactly synonymous with Russia; I am simply sharing a selection of postcards I acquired around the same time, published in Russian.  There are a few more “not technically Soviet” cards to come.

The Poster Children of Pigtails in Paint

Today is Pigtails in Paint’s 3rd Anniversary and conventional wisdom has it that when a new enterprise has survived to its third year, it has “made it” and has the stuff to weather any future storms it encounters. Three years ago today, Pip started this legacy with his post on Maxfield Parrish—titled ‘Parrish the Thought’ in Pigtails’ original incarnation.  Ever since then, he has made a point of bringing the readers an incredible eclectic range of little girl imagery and commentary. Ron joined a year-and-a-half later bringing his perspective and resources to the party. Every so often, an image comes along that seems to epitomize the purpose of this blog. For example, Ami brought to our attention the lovely and talented Autumn Miller and because of Ami’s research, Pigtails’ readers have been introduced to her. Many times, however, there have been delightful images that were not very well documented—on the internet or out of a magazine. This post is dedicated to those images Pip and Ron feel are important to get out there, but have not been fully identified and credited. Technically, this is another ‘Random Images’ post, so we encourage anyone with the time and skill to help us identify these. More may be added as they come up.

Ron is particularly fond of images of girls reading, so here are a couple he gleaned from the web:

littel girl reading 1900s

George W. Harris – Little Girl Reading (c 1940)

Thanks go to “Arizona” for tracking down the details of the above photo.  It was published by Harris & Ewing and the little girl is identified as Frances E. Lucks.  The links mentioned in the comments are worthy of further exploration.

reading girl pigtails classic - Copy

I want to thank Catwheezle for his question about Pigtails in Paint’s masthead.  The image comes from Pip’s collection of images which he used to design the masthead, but he does not remember the original artist.  Perhaps one of our readers will assist us.  The original will be posted as soon as Pip comes across it again.


Pigtails in Paint Banner (December 2012 to May 2014)

Another reader found the source of this image and now we can answer Catwheezle’s question.

Alfred Schwarz - Evie: Lovely Girl with Pigtails and Blue Bows (c1900)

Alfred Schwarz – Evie: Lovely Girl with Pigtails and Blue Bows (c1900)

Pigtails in Paint Banner (September 2011 to September 2012)

Pigtails in Paint Banner (September 2011 to September 2012)

I would like to thank the reader who discovered that there was still one page left that contained the original banner.

Pigtails in Paint Banner (February 2011 to September 2011)

Pigtails in Paint Banner (February 2011 to September 2011)

Soviet Postcards, Part 4: V.P. Efanov

Today’s postcard is from a series entitled: “Soviet Russia” Art Exhibition. The sensitivity of the composition strongly suggests this is a more personal work, perhaps the artist’s own daughter.

V.P. Efanov - Marinka (1959)

V.P. Efanov – Маринка [Marinka] (1959)

Vasily Prokofevich Efanov (1900-1978) studied at the studio of D. N. Kardovsky in Moscow from 1921 to 1926 before teaching at the Moscow Surikov Institute of Art (1948-1957) and then the Lenin Moscow Pedagogical Institute from 1960. He is known for his work in portraits—including formal ones of prominent Soviet figures—but his narrative pieces tended to be group compositions. During his distinguished career, he received a number of awards and medals for services to the state including the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and was formally given the title of People’s Artist of the USSR in 1965. Like many of the Soviet artists being covered, there is little about him in English and I could find nothing about his personal life. I would certainly like to know who Marinka was, so once again, anyone having more extensive information about this artist is encouraged to come forward and share.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m not as sentimental as Pip about observing certain holidays or occasions.  But as I went through to repost and reread the lost posts from 2011-2012, I forgot how charming these simple and light-hearted posts were.  So, this year, I offer you this selection I have culled from various sales sites.

And speaking of occasions, I want to inform any of our readers who were not aware that Shirley Temple Black just passed away a couple days ago.  Pip did a lovely tribute to her on her birthday in 2011 and now that that post has been restored, you can see it here.  You will undoubtedly continue to see her presence on this site again and again.


Pigtails being a bastion of free speech, it seemed appropriate to show this one first:


I know this is meant to be sweet, but there is just something disturbing about this giant cat:


And continuing the animal theme:


We tend to forget in our society that for a long time, a girl’s utility was in her skill at wifely duties and this attitude was impressed on them at a very early age.


Cute or provocative?  You be the judge.

Greeting card publishers were (and are) always looking for a gimmick to get people to buy their cards.  One was to have a slot for placing some item into the card—and a requisite play on words, of course.

Sometimes this can be taken to weird extremes.  The logic of the placement of a sponge is quite strained and I’d bet good money that this was veiled attempt to promote some company’s product.


I applaud Pip’s efforts to offer a range of girls of different races and cultures.  This also happens to be Black History Month.  Most of the items one sees on sales sites portraying Black girls is this kind of tasteless, stereotypical material that was clearly popular as it is all over the place—in this case, emphasizing the amusing “ignorant” speech patterns of Negros.  The text here seems to be a play on the popular song, Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby by Louis Jordan in 1944.  I have been toying with the idea of a post commenting on this genre of entertainment, but I still need to do a lot more research.

This one was sitting in my archive from when I was keeping an eye out for girls with guns images for Pip.

rifle valentine card

Soviet Postcards, Part 3: Thomas Couture

As you may have guessed from his name, Thomas Couture (1815-1879) was not a Soviet artist. In fact, he had come and gone well before the Bolshevik Revolution. The reason one of his works appears on a Soviet postcard is that it is one of a massive collection of art works housed at the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Pip already did a post here featuring this image, but I wanted to add this supplementary information.

The State Hermitage (Госуда́рственный Эрмита́ж) is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great. Its collections currently comprise over three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. The museum also boasts several exhibition centers abroad. There is quite a bit online about this institution including video, but you can find the most general information here.

This piece translates as “The Little Bather”.

Thomas Couture - The Little Bather (1849)

Thomas Couture – La petite baigneuse (1849)

It is apropos that Thomas Couture’s work should be so highly regarded by a foreign institution as he always felt he was not adequately recognized for his innovative technique in his native France. Once he became a success, he opened an independent atelier, accepting his own students, in an attempt to challenge the École des Beaux-Arts. In 1867, he published a book on his own ideas and working methods. You can read more details here.

The State Hermitage official website (English)

Soviet Postcards. Part 2: V. Klimashin

I made a point of mentioning the composer Gliere in my last post. The reason was that in addition to supporting the arts, the Soviet state also made an effort to respect and include all the various indigenous peoples in its domain. One of Gliere’s projects was to collect samples of music from the various regions and then compose music using their themes and styles.

This image painted by Viktor Semenovich Klimashin was part of a series of postcards celebrating the children of the world. I do not know when this painting was completed but it was probably in the mid 1950s as he did other Indian work at this time. The postcard was issued in 1958 and the caption translates as “Girl from India”.

V. Klimashin – ДЕВОЧКА ИЗ ИНДИИ (Girl from India) (c.1955)

There is little online about Klimashin (1912-1960) except his date and place of birth and date and place of death. Perhaps there is better information on a Russian website. If so, I would be pleased to post the link here.

Soviet Postcards, Part 1: A. Pakhomov

Like a lot of people, I will take an interest in something on impulse. Then I learn that there is a story behind it. No matter how well-intentioned a government might be, when it tries to manage a large number of people, the faults become evident by both insiders and outsiders. But these institutions also have their nobler aspects and the former Soviet Union’s is that it had tried to maintain a legacy of supporting the arts and its own artists. In the West, educated people are usually aware of this pride in their music, supporting performers and composers alike such as Reinhold Gliere and Dmitri Shostakovich. To promote their painters, the Soviet Union issued a number of postcard series showing the work of their native artists. As always, I was amazed at how many of these artists portrayed young girls nude or semi-nude and that these images were published as a matter of course. By now, I have managed to collect quite a few of these. I planned on a special post featuring Soviet artists but—since they covered such a range of style and attitude (and I am still discovering new ones)—decided it would be better to present them one at a time in small posts.

Today’s artist is Alexei Fedorovich Pakhomov born in 1900. This piece was painted in oil on canvas and was in the artist’s possession in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) when the postcard was issued. It seems appropriate that this artist should be presented in this format as he was also a skilled lithographer.

A. Pakhomov - Girl Bathing (1927)

A. Pakhomov – Girl Bathing (1927)

I am not going to pretend to be an expert on any of these artists so if you are interested, there is some biographical information on Pakhomov here and any interesting additions or anecdotes not covered on the internet, I would be pleased to post here.

The Second State of the Blog Address

Out of respect for Pip’s original vision for this site, I am inclined to continue using his ‘Maiden Voyages’ format to update readers on developments and hints of things to come. However, once in a while, there is a need to review major updates and these will be called ‘State of the Blog Addresses’.

A lot has happened in the last year. After being perfunctorily shut down by WordPress, we managed to limp along with a new and tolerant host, but as Pip and I are not technically-minded, the burdens of running the site became discouraging and things went slowly. Fortunately, one of our fans who also happens to offer internet hosting services came forward to offer his assistance. So far, his efforts on behalf of Pigtails in Paint has exceeded expectations. It seems when one is sincere and thoughtful in his endeavors, someone comes forward just when needed—a kind of guardian angel if you will.

In addition to our new home on biodex, we were fortunate to have someone come forward with a backup of our site we used to replace the posts that were lost. Because of that, Pigtails in Paint has now been fully reinstated—with some revisions—and now has over 600 posts to its name. However, no download is perfect so a few images did not download properly and with the assistance of a few others, we managed to restore all the images lost.  I would like to thank all those who made possible the complete restoration of this site and put the last nail in the coffin of our would-be censors. In addition, as I tried to replace the posts quickly, there are inevitably some errors in reposting so please do not hesitate to inform me of even the smallest errors you may encounter while visiting the site.

There are many benefits to our being hosted by biodex and many more to come. First, we have established RSS feeds and if you are like me and don’t understand what that is you can read about it here. Details about supported RSS formats can be found in a menu just under the Pigtails in Paint banner. In addition, Pigtails now has its security certificate which means when you visit the site, you will notice the new “https” format indicative of such sites. To learn more about what this means, read here. Pigtails has also been given ample memory to accommodate videos in house. YouTube provides a wonderful service, but almost inevitably videos get removed because of content issues or complaints about copyright infringement. So far only two short videos have been posted to test the system (here and here), but as we gain more confidence, more will become available and in some cases links in older posts will be replaced with in-line videos.

Our readership is now growing exponentially and such popularity is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, our voice and those who support us is getting more exposure which is the first step in correcting the imbalance in our society’s attitudes, but the increased traffic means it is more expensive to keep operating to handle the load. Therefore, it will be necessary to ask those who are able to pay for memberships or make donations to help defray the costs. No matter how strong and credible we may seem at the moment, this is still a volunteer operation. We are currently strategizing what incentives can be offered for said paid subscribers/members. Whatever is decided needs to be in compliance with the Fair Use Act which legally permits us to present artists’ work with impunity on the grounds of education and/or critical analysis. In glancing at my notes, there are at least six other measures that we plan to implement in the next few months that will enhance Pigtails’ ability to serve the community.

I have a number of specific ideas about the future of Pigtails in Paint and what is needed from readers and other supporters. This will be published in a post called ‘Community of Practice’ (COP) soon* and will be given its own page for continued reference. COP is an expression used by academics to describe a coordinated effort among like-minded people to have a particular issue properly aired and recognized by a larger audience. Although Pip and I are carefully shepherding Pigtails to serve a responsible social function, in time the long-term growth and stability of the site will depend on a community of prudent people committing their resources to our mutual cause.

Thank you all for your generous patronage, feedback and support so far. I assure you that this site has covered only the merest tip of the proverbial iceberg of this fascinating subject. -Ron, Editor-in-Chief

*Editorial update: This ‘Community of Practice’ post has been removed and replaced by a ‘Community’ page.