Artworks from members of the Artists’ Union of St Petersburg from 1950 to 1980 will go on display in Highgate later this week.

The exhibition marks 100 years since the Russian revolution that dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union.

The collapse of the Soviet system in Russia later in 1989 left many professionals without salaries or resources, including members of the Artists’ Union. They did, however, manage to retain their studios and paintings which made up their life’s work.

Curator of the exhibition, at the gallery in the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution, John Barkes, has been working with the artists for more than 20 years after a chance meeting with a painter linked to the Repin Academdy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg gave way to more than 300 trips to the artists’ studios.

Much to their surprise, over the years John tended to favour their vivacious oil paintings and sketches over the more formal works, despite the latter having far more monetary value during the Soviet era.

The works represent life in that time, simple things like work, leisure and family that denote a time that passed into history.

One wall within the exhibition features the designs for a mural and mosaic projects dated across the 1960s and ‘70s by Evgeni Kazmin. Out of these designs he takes the most pride in worked for the Sochi State Circus which survived the depredations associated with the recent winter Olympics.

The exhibition is running from February 3 until February 16 with a talk this Sunday, February 5, from Dr Elizaveta Butakova, visiting lecturer at the Courtauld Institute, on Socialist Realism. John Barkes will share the platform to offer his insights into the Soviet art education system.

11 South Grove, Highgate, N6 6BS. Details: 020 8340 3343,