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Exhibitions/ Art Object

Lenin and Stalin in Gorky, 1922

Unknown (Russian)
Gelatin silver print with applied media
Image: 24.8 x 23.5 cm (9 3/4 x 9 1/4 in.) Frame: 48.9 x 38.7 cm (19 1/4 x 15 1/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Collection of Ryna and David Alexander
Not on view
In this widely reproduced image, Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Ilich Lenin—the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution and founder of the U.S.S.R.—appear to share a friendly moment together outdoors at Gorki, Lenin’s estate just south of Moscow. Although Stalin did visit Lenin there frequently, the photograph has been heavily reworked: retouchers smoothed Stalin’s pockmarked complexion, lengthened his shriveled left arm, and increased his stature so that Lenin seems to recede benignly beside his trusted heir apparent. The reality was quite different: in a letter dictated around the time the picture was taken, Lenin described Stalin as intolerably rude and capricious and recommended that he be removed from his position as the Communist Party’s secretary general.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," October 10, 2012–January 27, 2013.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," February 17, 2013–May 5, 2013.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," June 2, 2013–August 25, 2013.

Fineman, Mia. Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. no. 60, pp. 90, 225.