Soviet Postcard Art —
Lydia Markovna Manilova (Лидія Марковна Манилова)
MANILOVA, Lydia Markovna (February 9, 1926--2005) Postcard artist, book designer.
Lydia (Yacobson) Manilova was born on February 9, 1926 in Kyiv. Her parents were both doctors, her father Mark Iosifovich Yakobson an authoritative specialist in caisson disease (acute decompression syndrome, the divers' illnesss commonly known as "the bends"), and mother Teresa Semyonovna an infectious disease specialist. The family relocated to Moscow when Lydia was still a child, perhaps to escape the difficulties the Ukrainian SSR was experiencing during that time period.
From a young age Manilova had a noticeable penchant for music and drawing, the latter of which manifested itself in coloring outfits for paper dolls, which she herself had made. Mark Iosifovich, a serious scientist, was disapproving, but Lydia was persistent. After graduating from school, she did not want to do work in a career in anything art.
Manilova graduated from the Polygraphic Institute and worked on book design for several years. She was competent, but did not consider herself a great talent in that area. In the early 1960s, she married A. Manilov, an oil engineer. Manilova, as was not unusual for that period, continued her professional career, though she took on her husband's name for her work.
Her friend and teacher N.A. Shishlovsky, understanding her creative dissatisfaction with her work in book design, suggested she submit her work to the Ministry of Communications to try out for the postcard genre. Manilova's first postcard was published in 1965. At that time, the postcard genre in the Soviet Union was very developed, with many talented artists. Quite quickly, Lydia Manilova became one of the most sought-after publishers and postcard artists loved by the people. Her works were published in millions of copies.
What is the reason for such success? The fact that the characters of Manilova's postcards shine with those gullibility, spontaneity, joy, which the artist herself possessed in abundance. Infrequently, she painted Santa Claus and other adult characters - until the end of her days, she did not become serious enough for this. Her characters are puppies, kittens, deer, ducklings.... Manilova created so many images of animals and birds that they populated an entire imaginary forest. Of all these animals, the author herself, according to her own feeling, was most like a squirrel.
In the 1980s, Manilova was baptized with the desire to "help the revival of Russia." She was very worried about what was happening to the country and people. And also what happened to her favorite postcard genre: The decline of the Soviet Union coincided with the decline of the postcard genre. The sunny disposition of her work, so reassuring and such a source of comfort during times of hardship, declined in popularity as the Soviet Union collapsed and the newly independent nations embarked upon their first decade of something that looked like it might be freedom.
In later years, Manilova suffered from declining eyesight and ill health. She passed away in 2004.