Nina Vatolina began producing posters in late 1930s and she went to become one of the leading Soviet poster artists of all time. She was a graduate of the Ogiz Technical School for Arts and of the Moscow Art Institute (class of 1942). Vatolina additionally acquired illustration skills from the master poster designer Viktor Deni. In fact, Deni considered Vatolina one of his most talented students.
The son of the renowned Soviet poster artist Viktor Deni, Nikolai Denisov became a successful artist in his own right. He began his design career just prior to World War II and he often worked in collaboration with his wife, Nina Vatolina, who happened to be one of his father’s favorite students. Denisov and Vatolina graduated from the Moscow Art Institute (class of 1942) and had married during the time they were students. Many of Vatolina’s early posters are co-signed by Nikolai Denisov as the two worked together consistently until Denisov was drafted into the Army during World War II. For his service, Denisov was awarded the medal For Battle Merit and the medal For Victory Over Germany. Vatolina divorced him in 1945.
Iskusstvo was the Art Publishing House (A.K.A. Visual Arts Publishing) that was created in 1936 from Ogiz-Izogiz (State Art and Literature Publishing House). It disseminated books and journals dealing with graphic design and the fine arts, and it issued numerous posters. Since the Iskusstvo banner was part of the State Printing Works in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and Moscow, its two main offices were located in those two cities.