The German forces surrounded Leningrad in 1941. The city faced daily bombardments, extreme starvation and death. In the spring of 1942, Anatoly Kaplan was evacuated, together with his wife and young daughter. The 872-day blockade continued until January 27, 1944. Kaplan was able to return only in April of that year and immediately threw himself into painting the city he saw recovering around him.
Anatoly Kaplan’s Leningrad series captures a healing city as it returned to life. His lithographs of Leningrad breathe with memories of the past and are filled with darkness, emotion, and yet, through the play of shadows and streams of bright light, with courage and promise.
Describing the series, Natalya Kazyrova of The State Russian Museum wrote: “Kaplan’s Leningrad series is one of the most striking and poignant declarations of love known to world culture. The works are at the same time expressions of love-farewell and love-remembrance, love-hope and love-repentance.”
When the series was published in 1946, it was purchased by 18 museums in the Soviet Union, bringing Anatoly Kaplan much fame.