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Markov-Grinberg photograph of 2 teams of 3 yoked horses and sleighs racing in the snow

Object | Accession Number: 2005.565.6

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    Brief Narrative
    Photographic print of 2 horse teams racing through the countryside created in 1934 by Mark Markov-Grinberg, a Soviet Jewish photographer and World War II war correspondent. Markov-Grinberg was a major Social Realist photographer during the Stalinist era of the 1930s-1940s. He worked for major newspapers and journals, including TASS. He was a war correspondent during the Soviet-Finnish War from 1939-1940 and, in 1941, was drafted to fight in World War II. While a soldier, he continued his work as a photographer and army correspondent. After the war, he returned to his job at TASS.
    Artwork Title
    Russian Troika (horse carriages in the snow)
    depiction:  1934
    creation: Tushino Military Airport; Moscow (Russia)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Stephen Nicholas
    back, center, script, pencil : M. Markov-Grinberg
    Artist: Mark Markov-Grinberg
    Subject: Mark Markov-Grinberg
    Mark Borisovich Markov-Grinberg was born on November 27, 1907, in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. He learned photography at secondary school. In 1925, he took his first job as a photographer for the Sovetsky Yug (Soviet South) newspaper and worked as a freelance correspondent for Ogonyok magazine. In 1926, Markov-Grinberg moved to Moscow and worked for various trade union newspapers and the magazine, Krasnoarmeyskaya Smena (Transformation). In 1930, he accepted an offer to work for the Fotokhronika TASS (Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union). He traveled around the country photographing the official Soviet Union: major construction projects, collective farms, and happy workers engaged in building Soviet Society, as well as prominent Russian and foreign personalities. His photographs appeared in major Soviet publications, including USSR in Construction, a magazine that documented Stalin’s Five-Year Plans to industrialize the Soviet Union. In 1934, TASS commissioned Markov-Grinberg to create a photo essay detailing a day in the life of Ukrainian miner, Nikita Izotov. He created an iconic portrait of Izotov as a Socialist worker hero. The Izotov photo essay launched Markov-Grinberg's career as a Stalin-era photographer and he became one of the most important photographers of his generation. His work was part of the socialist realist movement in photography which pictured life as it should be in idealized images made to look like objective recordings of things as they were.
    During the Soviet-Finnish War (1939-1940), Markov-Grinberg worked for TASS as a war correspondent and documented the fighting on the Karelian Isthmus. In September 1941, he was drafted into the Red Army, and continued to take photographs. He became the army correspondent for the military publication, Slovo Boitsa (Soldier’s World), in July 1943. He created well-known images of the Battle of Kursk and the crematorium at Stutthof concentration camp, when it was liberated on May 9, 1945, by the Soviet Army.
    Markov-Grinberg lost his job with TASS in 1948 as a result of the anti-Semitic climate of late Stalinism. After his demobilization in 1953, he worked as a photographer for the Red Army Illustrated Gazette and, later, for the photography publishing office of the Soviet Union Agricultural Exhibition, a theme park about the People’s Economy. From 1957–1973, Markov-Grinberg worked for the Club and Art Hobby magazine. He took part in photography exhibitions in the USSR and abroad. An honorary member of the Russian Union of Art Photographers, Markov-Grinberg died in 2006 at the age of 99.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Black and white ferrotyped gelatin silver print, landscape orientation, image 14.75x21.75 inches, depicting 2 sets of horses in troika formation pulling sleighs. The lead team gallops across the foreground, kicking up snow; the outer horses are dark colored; the center horse, mostly in shadow, appears lighter. The horses are harnessed abreast; the side horses wear breast collar harnesses and the middle horse a collar and shaft bow decorated with fabric; poles attach the shaft bow to the sleigh. The team blocks all but the bottom of the sleigh from view; the head of the driver, wearing an ushanka, looks over his shoulder at the 2nd troika. The driver of the 2nd team is visible; the right outer horse is dark colored and the other 2 light. Bare trees and buildings dot the background. Snow, slush, and hoof prints cover the ground. The photographer shot the photo from ground level and his focus is the lead team. The artist’s signature, year, title, and two numbers are inscribed on the reverse.
    overall: Height: 20.000 inches (50.8 cm) | Width: 23.500 inches (59.69 cm)
    overall : paper, emulsion, gelatin silver print
    back, center, Russian script, pencil : 1934 [Symbol]
    back, top left corner, pencil : 1 within a circle
    back, bottom left, pencil : 4000/015

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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The photograph was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Dr. Stephen Nicholas.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:29:02
    This page:

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