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Kerbel (Кербель) Lev Efimovich

Kerbel (Кербель) Lev Efimovich (1917—2003)

Lev Efimovich Kerbel is a renowned sculptor of Soviet realist works, Kerbel's creations including statues of Marx, Lenin and Yuri Gagarin, that were sent to socialist countries across the world. Many of his works of art were destroyed in the years following the collapse of the socialist block, but his enormous Karl Marx monument in Chemnitz, formerly 'Karl Marx Stadt', has been preserved as a cultural monument.

Kerbel was born to a Russian Jewish family on the day of Saint Petersburg's Winter Palace was stormed by the Bolsheviks in the village of Semenovka Chernigov Gubernia, Russian Empire (currently Ukraine). His family had suffered from some of the anti-Semitic pogroms that had occurred in Russia and he had been born in a barrel while his mother hid from the mob.

Lev's family moved to Russia's Smolensk region there he began sculpting as a child. He continued to sculpt and in 1934 he won an award from Komsomol(Young Communist League) for a plaque of Lenin.

During the World War II, Kerbel helped build the defenses for the Battle of Moscow, then served in the Northern Fleet, gaining renown as a military artist.

After the war, Kerbel's career took off with a wide range of commissions. In 1958 he sculpted a statue in Shanghai that depicted a huge Soviet and an equally large Chinese worker hand in hand. When Soviet - Chinese relations foundered a few years later, the statue was torn down by a mob.

Kerbel's work is dismissed by many as simply Communist propoganda, however Kerbel claims that he was always more interested in art than politics. Many people now view his few remaining statues with nostalgia, particularly in Chemnitz, where his bust is referred to as 'the head.'

Kerbel continues to sculpt, though he tends to sculpt tsars instead of the communist idols of the past.

USSR, 1959, Tukay monument in Kazan

USSR, 1978, Tukay monument in Kazan

USSR, 1972.10.31, Tukay monument in Kazan

USSR, 1984.03.29, Tukay monument in Kazan

USSR, 1984.07.04, Gafuri monument in Ufa

USSR, 1985.06.28, Gafuri monument in Ufa

USSR, 1990.01.29, Gafuri monument in Ufa

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