Joseph Stalin

Extremely Scarce Stalin Signed Photo Print, One of Three Known, With Great Association & Provenance

Extremely Scarce Stalin Signed Photo Print, One of Three Known, With Great Association & Provenance


Reproduction photo print, 9.25" x 7". Signed by Joseph Stalin in cyrillic for "J Stalin" to the lower left corner. Mounted on a hard board with provenance and a description to the verso. Small abrasions to outer edges of the image, not affecting signature. Includes a letter of authenticity and provenance by noted Russian collector V. Lavrov.


An incredibly scarce boldly signed photo of Joseph Stalin. He is pictured together with V. Molotov, Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, and A. Bezymensky, a poet and early activist. Provenance is from the collection of Valetin Lavrov, a Russian-Soviet author and collector. According to V. Lavrov, he purchased this photograph from A. Bezymensky in 1973, where since it had hung in his bedroom. At the time A. Bezymensky had told Lavrov that prior to the meeting with Stalin he could not get a photograph of him so he a made a reproduction from a newspaper and asked for Stalin's signature during their meeting. It is well known that Stalin liked Bezymensky's play titled "The Shot" which was very popular in the 1930's. Our research shows published correspondence between Stalin and Bezymensky regarding 'The Shot", dated March 19, 1930, however Bezymensky continued afterward to write poetry to support the party program including a piece in 1949 that attacked Western Capitalist Warmongers:


Comrade Bezymensky,

I am somewhat late in replying.

I am not an expert on literature, and certainly not a critic. Nevertheless, since you insist, I can give you my personal opinion.

I have read both The Shot and A Day In Our Life. There is nothing “petty-bourgeois” or “anti-Party” in these works. Both, and especially The Shot, may, for our time, be considered models of revolutionary proletarian art.

True, they contain certain vestiges of Young Communist vanguardism. Reading these works, the unsophisticated reader might even get the impression that it is not the Party that corrects the mistakes of the youth, but the other way round. But this defect is not the main feature of these works, nor the message they convey. Their message lies in the concentration on the shortcomings of our apparatus and in their profound belief that these shortcomings can be corrected. That is the chief thing in both The Shot and A Day In Our Life. That is also their principal merit. And this merit more than compensates for and altogether overshadows what, it seems to me, are minor defects dating back to the past.

With communist greetings,

J. Stalin



Molotov, who also appears in this photo began his career with Stalin began in 1922.  Stalin became general secretary of the Bolshevik Party with Molotov as the de facto Second Secretary. As a young follower, Molotov admired Stalin but was open in criticism of him. Under Stalin's patronage, Molotov became a member of the Politburo in 1926. During the power struggles which followed Lenin's death in 1924, Molotov remained a loyal supporter of Stalin against his various rivals.


By 1930, the era of this photo, Molotov became the head of government (Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars) who oversaw the Stalin regime's collectivization of agriculture. He followed Stalin's line by using a combination of force and propaganda to crush peasant resistance to collectivization, including the deportation of millions of kulaks (peasants with property) to gulags. An enormous number of the deportees died from exposure and overwork.  He signed the Law of Spikelets and personally led the Extraordinary Commission for Grain Delivery in Ukraine, which seized a reported 4.2 million tons of grain from the peasants during a widespread manmade famine. Contemporary historians estimate that between seven and eleven million people died, either of starvation or in gulags.


Molotov has become forever infamous for the term "Molotov cocktail", a term coined when reports began circulating that Russian forces were bombing the Finns at the outset of that 1939-1940 conflict, Molotov, which means "hammer" in Russian, objected, saying that the Soviets were in fact dropping food and drink over Finland. Exhibiting wit under fire, the Finns started referring to the cluster munitions dropped by the Soviets as "Molotov bread baskets.", and to complete the pairing, Finnish fighters started calling the incendiary bombs they used against Russian forces "Molotov cocktails, which were "a drink to go with the food."


An important signed photo. Stalin signed photos are extremely scarce with only 3 having come to market over a period of 25 years!


Item: 64541

Price: $25,000.00
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Joseph Stalin
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