Artist Studios (Kh.M.)
Kh.M. is the abbreviation for the State Free Artists' Studios (Khudozhestvenye Masterskie), a poster arts cooperative of Izogiz publishers. In 1930, Kh.M studios existed only in Moscow and Leningrad and it was turning out propaganda for the First Five-Year Plan and for the efforts of collectivization. The earliest poster works created by the cooperative thus reflect these two themes.
Team methods were used in the creation of each Kh.M poster. In Moscow for example, labor was executed with the monumental section of the Academy of Arts working in concert with lithography graduates at VKhuTEIN (Higher Art and Technical Institute). Because each workshop was organized as a team, there was group discussion and criticism about the art produced. While the artistic portions of the work were largely collective, technical operations in poster construction were performed individually. Work was divided into three stages: design, composition and performance-- brigades carried out the stages together. Owing to this style of collaboration, individual authorship on a poster was sacrificed for the sake of the collective. No matter the number of artists involved in a poster's execution, the poster artist was identified only by the distinctive "XM" chop mark in Cyrillic.
Sources & Citations
Russian Books, Posters and Other Collectibles. (2010). Auction catalogue of Mercer and Middlesex, LLC. New York: Mercer and Middlesex, LLC.
Degot, E. (2006). Borba za znamya: Sovetskoe iskusstvo mezhdu Trotskim i Stalinym 1926-1936. Moscow: Izdatelskaya programma Moskovskogo muzeya sovremennogo iskusstva. (Kh.M cited)
art-initiatives.org (bio, Kh.M)