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  • Ponedelink was the most influential and the longest-running art society in Shanghai. Committed to promoting awareness of Russian culture and to developing its members' taste and erudition, it published the finest art magazine of the diaspora.
  • Ponedelnik
  • Monday; Понедельник

  • Association
  • Ponedelink was the most influential and the longest-running art society in Shanghai. Committed to promoting awareness of Russian culture and to developing its members' taste and erudition, it published the finest art magazine of the diaspora.

    Word Count: 36

  • The Ponedelnik (Monday) art society was formed in October 1929 on the initiative of writer Lev Grosse, journalist Valentin Prisiajnikoff (pseudonym Vale), architect Nicholas Sokolovsky, and others. The goal of the society – also referred to as the “fraternity” – was to unite Russian artists in the Far East, deepen their knowledge of Chinese culture and establish links with art societies in Europe. Because the meetings took place every Monday, the society adopted this name.

    At Ponedelnik, writers and journalists outnumbered visual artists, yet painters and designers were its most active members – among them Alexander Yaron, Sofia Moszepan, Vasily Zasipkin, Victor Podgoursky, Vera Kuznetzova, and others. By the autumn of 1933, Ponedelnik counted 45 permanent members in Shanghai and eleven overseas members. Initially, the society held meetings at the residence of P. M. Yankovsky, at 443 Route Cardinal Mercier. These meetings were described in the local Russian press as edifying and comprehensive, even if excessively formal and possibly intimidating for beginners.

    In September 1930, the society published the first issue of its eponymous magazine, Ponedelnik. It contained poems and short stories by Shanghai-based Russian writers; there was also a review of the city’s art scene. Vasily Zasipkin provided illustrations, while his former student Alexander Yaron designed the cover. Printed in vivid colours on high-quality white paper, the Ponedelink magazine became the pinnacle of Russian periodical publishing in Shanghai. But in 1933, accusations of plagiarism among members of the Ponedelnik “fraternity” slowed down work on the magazine. In its five years of existence, only four issues came out. By 1934, when the final double issue was released, the society had split into two groups, with twelve members leaving and forming a new society, Vostok (The East), which started to meet on Wednesdays.

    The remaining members continued to meet on Mondays, in the studio of the artist Mikhail Kichigin, at 10 Avenue Dubail. Kichigin had become the society’s chairman. The local magazine Rubezh described these meetings: “In the dimly lit huge studio with a single desk lamp, with its large vitrines reflecting the headlights of the passing cars and the blue flashes of the trams – here the poets gather to recite their own and other poets' verses. Sometimes the reader has to pause, because Shanghai's street noise fills the studio. This city never lets you forget where you are.”

    As the Russian community in Shanghai continued to grow, reaching more than 35,000 toward the end of the decade, cultural organisations for émigrés multiplied. Their focus and character varied, but their membership and target audiences often intersected, so meetings were organised on different days of the week. Mondays were reserved for the “serious” meetings of the Ponedelnik society. On Tuesdays, the gatherings of the Russian Club – with paid entry – took place in the club’s opulent mansion in the French Concession. On Wednesday evenings, the public flowed into the Renaissance, Alcazar or Arcadia, where the HLAM members were putting on a performance. The Thursday Society meetings were a platform for music, dance, singing and poetry readings. On Fridays, the literary soirées of the ex-Harbin poetry society Churaevka attracted hundreds of visitors.

    Ponedelnik’s activities stopped with the tightening of the Japanese occupational regime in 1941, when Kichigin lost access to his studio space and some other members of the society left China.

    Word Count: 541

  • 443 Rue Cardinal Mercier, French Concession (now Maoming Nan Lu, Huangpu Qu); Mikhail Kichigin’s studio, 10 Avenue Dubail, French Concession (now Changle Lu, Huangpu Qu) Shanghai

  • A meeting of the Ponedelnik society, photography, January 1931 (© Amir Khisamutdinov). Vera Kuznetzova, Mikhail Kichigin and Vasily Zasipkin are sitting around the table.
  • Cover of Ponedelnik (Monday)(© Amir Khisamutdinov).
    Severny, Pavel. Lady, Shanghai 1938. Alexander Yaron, cover design, Lady, 1938 (© Mikhail Drozdov). Pavel Severny and Alexander Yaron were collaborators at the Ponedelnik Society in Shanghai.
    A. T. Hull, Jr., HLAM-organised beauty pageant Miss Shanghai in the Arcadia Cabaret at 291 Route Courbet, photography,1940 (© Time Inc.). Alexander Vertinsky is in the centre, Eduard Eliroff (with a ribbon) is on the right.
    La Renaissance restaurant at 795 Avenue Joffre, photography, Modern Miscellany (Shidai), no. 12, 1932.
  • Shtein, Edward. “Hudozhniki russkogo Kitaia, HLAM I Ponedelnik (Russian Artists in China, HLAM and Ponedelnik).” New Review, no. 213. 1998.
    Khisamutdinov, Amir. Russkie hudozhniki v Kitae (Russian Artists in China), Vladivostok, 2015.
    Khisamutdinov, Amir. Russkie literaturnye zhurnaly v Kitae (Russian Literary Magazines in China), Vladivostok, 2016.

    Word Count: 42

  • Katya Knyazeva
  • 1929
  • 1941
  • Vera Kuznetzova, Mikhail Kichigin, Vasily Zasipkin, Alexander Yaron, Pavel Severny, Victor Podgoursky, Sofia Moszepan, Lev Grosse, Valentin Prisiajnikoff, Nicholas Sokolovsky

  • Shanghai
  • No
  • Katya Knyazeva. "Ponedelnik." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 08-05-2021.
  • Alexander A. Yaron

    An autodidact and a versatile commercial artist, Alexander Yaron applied his talent in portraiture, photography, interior design, advertising, layout and illustration. His best known projects were illustrated art magazines and books produced as part of Adcraft Studios, in tandem with Ivan Kounin.

    Word Count: 42

    Mikhail Kichigin

    Mikhail Kichigin was Shanghai’s preeminent émigré artist in the 1930s and 1940s. He travelled extensively around China and Eastern Asia, exhibiting his work and conducting visual studies. A versatile professional and a respected art instructor, he influenced a number of young artists from the Russian diaspora.

    Word Count: 47

    Vasily Zasipkin

    Vasily Zasipkin was a prolific artist and and influential teacher, much loved in the diaspora. Having lost his studio and all his work in wartime Shanghai, he started over in Singapore.

    Word Count: 31

    HLAM – Society for Artists, Writers, Entertainers and Musicians

    As Shanghai’s largest and most popular Russian émigré association focused loosely on art, HLAM provided a platform for weekly encounters between the self-professed bohemians and a general audience. The HLAM evenings included theatre scenes, comic routines, dance numbers and poetry readings.

    Word Count: 42

    Vera Kuznetzova

    A native of Harbin and a resident of Shanghai in the 1930s and 1940s, Vera Kuznetzova was among the most accomplished female artists of the Russian diaspora. Together with Mikhail Kichigin, she travelled extensively around China and Eastern Asia, exhibiting her work and conducting visual studies.

    Word Count: 46

    Victor Podgoursky

    Victor Podgoursky spent more than twenty-five years in Shanghai, working as an artist, teacher and designer. As a long-standing member of the Shanghai Art Club, he acted as the resident art critic and an instructor in life drawing and painting for the members.

    Word Count: 43