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    Description

    Nikita Khrushchev Photographs (6). Set of six black and white photographs taken by Norman Cousins, all measuring 7.75" x 8.5", circa April 1963.

    Cousins was an accomplished photographer, and took this series of images showcasing Khrushchev's more playful side, during a trip to Khrushchev's vacation home in Gagra on the northeast coast of the Black Sea in April 1962. Khrushchev is wrapped in a black bear coat with leopard fur trim; the accompanying copy of an AP describes the scene: "For the benefit of Cousins' daughters, who accompanied him to Gagra, Khrushchev displayed his well-known penchant for turning playful. He showed his visitors and enormous bear coat, and asked if they would like to see his disappearing act. Khrushchev, grinning broadly, climbed into the coat. Gradually, all of him except the mere hint of his bald pate disappeared within the coat. A few playful growls emanated from the confines of the fur. Suddenly, the top of the coat flew open, and Khrushchev's head reappeared to the accompaniment of a loud 'Boo!'"

    The photographs are included in Cousins' The Improbable Triumvirate, where he also records his trip to meet with Khrushchev in great detail. Cousins' mission, as directed by President Kennedy, had been to clarify the United States' position on the nuclear test ban and to erase any misunderstanding that the Soviets may have had. Cousins describes his seven-hour interview with Khrushchev and the stress that the Cold War had caused the Soviet Chairman. He faced pressure from the Chinese Communists as well as from those within his own party. The wire included with the photographs reads, "Khrushchev told Cousins he wanted to believe a drift towards war could be ended and that the two most powerful countries in the world could find a way to live in peace, but that the next move was up to the United States. Cousins quoted him as saying he looked to President Kennedy, for whom he had high regard, to take the next step."

    Khrushchev's rise to power coincided with one of the darkest periods in Soviet history: the Great Terror. During the 1930s, Stalin began a series of bloody purges to consolidate his power. The terror spread throughout the Soviet Union, and Khrushchev was part of it, denouncing several fellow students and workers as enemies of the people and willingly taking part in the extermination of the Ukrainian intelligentsia. Eventually, Khrushchev would control the Communist party. In relations with the West, his tenure was marked by a series of high-stakes crises: the U-2 affair, the building of the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban Missile crisis. By 1964, he had alienated too many powerful Soviet constituencies. A group of men lead by Leonid Brezhnev ousted Khrushchev, and he retired to a dacha in rural Russia, where he died in 1971. Ex. Norman Cousins Estate.

    Condition: Overall fine condition. The photographs are individually mounted on boards of different sizes.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2017
    19th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 264

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