Rus­sian photo ex­hibit at Cline Gallery

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - ARTS - BY BARRY COURTER STAFF WRITER Con­tact Barry Courter at bcourter@times­freep­ress.com or 423-757-6354.

As an of­fi­cial pho­tog­ra­pher in the Krem­lin, Dmitri Bal­ter­mants (1912-1990) had a close-up view of Rus­sian his­tory as it hap­pened.

He pho­tographed life in the Soviet Union for five decades. Dur­ing World War II, he cov­ered the Bat­tle of Stal­in­grad and the bat­tles of the Red Army in Rus­sian and the Ukraine. Even though many of his photos were cen­sored by au­thor­i­ties, he still man­aged to cap­ture stun­ning im­ages of death and hard­ship, as well as pa­rades in Red Square.

One of his most fa­mous im­ages, “Grief,” de­picts a 1942 mas­sacre of Jews in the city of Kerch, a city on the Crimean penin­sula. It is one of 20 im­ages in a new ex­hibit that the L. P. Cline Gallery on Broad Street is show­cas­ing.

“Faces of a Na­tion: The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union” will re­main on view through March 3. An open­ing re­cep­tion will be held Satur­day, Feb. 3, at the gallery from 2 to 6 p.m.

Gallery owner Lynn Cline said Bal­ter­mants’ daugh­ter, Ta­tiana, had 20 im­ages from her fa­ther’s col­lec­tion printed us­ing the gelatin sil­ver process and auc­tioned 25 port­fo­lios in the mid-’90s.

“There were 25 sets made and we man­aged to get No. 15 at an auc­tion,” Cline said.

“We’ve never shown them, but now just seemed like a good time.”

Cline spe­cial­izes in Rus­sian art, trav­el­ing to the area two or three times a year on buy­ing trips. She bought one of the port­fo­lios. Some of the win­ning bid­ders have sold off in­di­vid­ual photos over the years for tens of thou­sands of dol­lars, she says .

CON­TRIB­UTED I MAGE

“Grief,” shot in 1942, de­picts a woman griev­ing over a loved one lost in Kerch while other women search among the dead for their fam­ily mem­bers.

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