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Socialist realism

Socialist realism in France: a party art (2016-2019)

Advocating class struggle and rooted in a national perspective, "socialist realism" in France fuelled heated theoretical and artistic debates as of the early years of the Cold War. Transmitted through the intermediary of partisan journals and publications in support of the Soviet model, this art appears to be largely ignored at present in French historiography. The aim of this project was, firstly, to reveal the internationalisation of the socialist realism doctrine through an examination of publications between the USSR and various non-communist countries in the 1930s. Secondly, it examined the evolution of socialist realism in France, its emergence, its adoption as the official aesthetic of the French Communist Party in 1947, and its decline with the death of Stalin, while focusing on visual art and architecture, in addition to other fields. 


From September 2016 to April 2017, a room devoted to "French socialist realism" was opened at the Musée national d’art moderne, as part of the Politics of Art pathway.


In March 2019, the exhibition RED, Art and Utopia in the land of Soviets, showcased a large proportion of the research carried out in the framework of this project. 

The research project closed in April 2019 with the seminar "Socialist realism, from the land of Soviets to the land of Aragon".

Scientific team

Project led in partnership with the LabEx Arts H2H and RMN-Grand Palais.


Heads of research: Sergey Fofanov, Vanessa Noizet and Maria Podzorova