For the celebrations of the First of May, 1917, all the buildings on the Palace Square, including the Winter Palace, were decorated for the first time with white drapes with red edgings and revolutionary slogans. Under the Bolsheviks, avant-garde artists assumed the right to develop art for the newly formed communist state, and the commission to decorate Petrograd for May Day 1918, was awarded to futurists.
Natalia Murray was born in St Petersburg where she read Art History at the Academy of Fine Arts before taking the PhD course at the Hermitage Museum. In 1998 she moved to England; over the past five years she has been lecturing on XIX-XX c. Russian Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art and at the University of Sussex. Natalia’s biography of Nikolay Punin, The Unsung Hero of the Russian Avant-Garde. The Life and Times of Nikolay Punin (1888-1953), was published by Brill Academic Publishers in June 2012, and was launched at the CCRAC conference Russian Culture in Exile.1921-1953, organised by Natalia and Maria Kokkori on 2-3 November 2012 at the Courtauld.At present Natalia is writing her second PhD thesis, at the Courtauld, on the development of Proletarian Art in Russia after the 1917 Revolution, and its various forms of expression in the street decorations of Petrograd.