In 1982 Komar and Melamid live for a few years in New York as a duet of artists who sign together their mixed media artworks. Their message of political mockery had finally made their activity unsustainable in Soviet Russia.
In the following of Surrealism and Dadaism, Vitaly Komar mixes the periods by confronting the idols of the Soviet regime with earlier figures like Karl Marx or George Washington. The mixed memory of the chromos in his child's bedroom makes him imagining Stalin's mustache on the lips of Mona Lisa.
During Komar's childhood the image of the Father of Peoples was omnipresent. Yet it was in New York that he first saw Yalta's famous official photo confronting the symbolic leading characters of tyranny, democracy and monarchy.
In 1982 Komar and Melamid execute Yalta Conference, tempera and oil on canvas 102 x 76 cm, unsold at Macdougall's on 7 June 2017 from a lower estimate of £ 80K.
Stalin sits on the right in the style of Soviet realism. On the left Roosevelt gets the head of Spielberg's E.T., far away from the realities of our world. He is fully recognizable by his attitude and the position of his hands, copied from the Yalta photo. Churchill is absent : in 1982 Great Britain plays no role in the confrontation of the blocks. Behind them a sly Hitler makes the gesture of silence : the risk of a come back of absolutism is never removed.
On January 27 in Willoughby OH, Milestone Auctions sells a larger copy 183 x 127 cm which was first exhibited in 1987 at Documenta 8 in Kassel. It is estimated $ 800K with a starting bid at $ 200K, lot 327C. It is dated 1982 by the artists, probably by reference to the date of the original version.
This later version, whose history of recent exhibitions is important, is the symbol of the Nostalgic Socialist Realism. Its theme was not accepted in a contest for a wall painting in the United Nations building on the pretext that Stalin's figure is still offensive to some nations.