Welcome to the USSR is a set of 24 high quality reproductions of Soviet travel posters produced in the 1930-50s for Intourist, the State Travel Company of the USSR.
Subjects featured: Moscow, Leningrad, Caucasus, Crimea, Baku, Soviet Armenia, Ballet, Georgian Military Highway, Hunting, Winter Sports, Health Resorts and Theatre Festival. The posters are enclosed in a folder cover with flaps and the legend is in Russian and English.
Glamour is not what many people would associate with the Soviet Union during the 1930s. The Stakhanovite worker struggling to fulfill the five-year plan and the Red Army soldier defending achievements of socialism from capitalist aggression dominated the poster art of that period. At the same time Soviet travel posters aimed at attracting foreign tourists were designed in the bourgeois Art Deco style to create a glamorous portrayal of the Soviet Union. Intourist advertising posters that were unknown to the majority of the Soviet population became a calling card of the country as they were displayed in tourist offices and embassies all over the world. Bold, bright and highly artistic they were aimed at presenting to foreign tourists the joys of travelling in the USSR - the first socialist country in the world. As the only tour operator authorised to deal with foreigners, Intourist was charged with providing the highest quality of service to foreign guests.
Since the creation of Intourist in 1929 prominent artists from Moscow and Leningrad such as M. Litvak, A. Frolov, V. Pudovkin and others were commissioned to design its advertising. In 1931 Intourist initiated All-Union poster competitions featuring Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, other cities and areas of the USSR and the Trans-Siberian railway. These competitions attracted many new young artists including I. Fomin and V. Livanova. At the beginning of the 1930s all foreign trade advertisement was consolidated under the Bureau of Trade Advertisement of the All-Union Chamber of Commerce headed by the artist S. Igumnov. The bureau artists designed advertising for all Soviet foreign trade agencies, Torgsin and Intourist. Many designers such as N. Zhukov, S. Sakharov, B. Zelenskiy, M. Nesterova-Berzina, V. Klimashin, O. Eyges, A. Antonchenko and A. Zhitomirskiy who joined the bureau in the 1930s contributed to the unique style of Intourist advertisements that are still admired today. The most prominent impact was due to N. Zhukov, who worked on Intourist posters and periodicals from 1934 until 1937.
World War Two interrupted the development of foreign tourism and as a consequence, tourist advertising. After the war the volume of advertising was not very significant. A new era in Intourist advertising began in 1957, when young designers started working with new ideas and artistic methods.