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#2 2009 (23)
The publication of this article is a tribute to its author, Irina Alexandrovna Kuznetsova, who for more than 50 years curated French and English painting at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. The Pushkin Museum, where she took her first job at 17, became for her not just a workplace but a home requiring unremitting care. She was born in 1913, a year after the opening of the Museum, to the construction of which her father Alexander Kuznetsov, a founder of the Russian school of industrial design, contributed. She graduated with a degree in art history from the famous Moscow Institute of Philosophy, Literature and History (MIFLI) before World War II, and in November 1943 she defended a doctoral thesis on the history of English portraiture. Kuznetsova authored many books and articles, and put together and wrote essays for many albums and catalogues devoted to French and English art of the 17th-19th centuries. Her greatest academic achievement was a catalogue raisonne of French paintings of the 16th-19th centuries from the Pushkin Museum collection, prepared together with Yelena Sharnova and published in 2001. She placed especially great emphasis on the pictures’ origin and their histories as they made their way through European and Russian collections. Her research was summarized in several major articles - most remain in manuscripts only today - about the history of art collecting in Russia from Nikolai Yusupov to Sergei Tretyakov. We are very grateful to the “Tretyakov Gallery” magazine for this publication of Irina Kuznetsova*, who died in September 2002.
RUSSIA’S GOLDEN MAP
Alexei Vladimirovich Isupov dedicated his whole life to art and was shaped by his years at the Moscow School of Painting, and later absorbed a great deal from Impressionism and the work of the Italian Renaissance masters. But he kept his distinctive style and remained true to the idea that excited the generation of painters of the turn of the 20th century — “the embodiment of the great beauty of everything alive”.
More than 70 years have passed since the death of Paolo Troubetzkoy, a sculptor famous in Russia. Today, as before, his buoyant and brilliant personality preserves its special character and inspires very special feelings. His name is organically associated with the idea of the artist’s personal creative independence from any politicized demands.
“GRANY” FOUNDATION PRESENTS
Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) was the foremost American sculptor of the late 19th century. From humble roots, through his prodigious talent, he rose in society, eventually counting some of America’s most influential figures in art and literature, diplomacy and economics, technology and social policy among his friends and patrons. The exhibition “Augustus Saint-Gaudens in The Metropolitan Museum of Art”, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from 30 June through 15 November 2009, draws from the Museum’s collection of nearly four dozen works by the accomplished artist, many of which were acquired directly from the sculptor or from his widow, soon after his death in 1907. Organized thematically within a chronological framework, the exhibition charts his illustrious career with works representing the entire range of his oeuvre, from early cameos to innovative painterly bas-reliefs, to character-penetrating portrait busts and statuettes derived from his public monuments.
COLLECTORS AND COLLECTIONS
“A Certain State of the World?” - a selection of works from the Frangois Pinault Foundation collection - was the second project put together by the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture. Moscow’s new exhibition venue owes its name to the fact that initially the building housed a garage, for buses, built in 1926-27 to the design of the famed Constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov.
When the doors of the Giardini were opened for journalists on the first day of the 53rd Biennale of Venice, where traditionally the national pavilions present their artists, nearly all writers and photographers hurried, passing the pavilions of Switzerland, Venezuela, Russia, Japan and Germany to the British Pavilion, to take a place in a quickly growing queue... It was like in bad times, when there was something free on offer - this time tickets for a 30-minutes film by Steve McQueen. The number of visitors was limited, therefore one had to wait for days, if not following the queue
"For Arp, art is Arp" - this proclamation made by Marcel Duchamp in 1949 arouses a curiosity to get to know Arp's understanding of art, presented at the exhibition in the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck*. There are many reasons to consider the painter, sculptor, and poet Hans (Jean) Arp (1886-1966) to be among the most influential artists of the 20th century. In Zurich in 1916, together with his artist colleagues Hugo Ball, Richard Huelsenbeck, and Tristan Tzara he founded Dada, a protest movement against war and human despotism. With mostly provocative, sometimes playfully-ironic artistic means of expression, the Dadaists tried to surmount existing social and aesthetic norms, and in doing so, revolutionized the art scene in only a short time. "Happenings" and "performances", significant forms of expression even in today's art, are directly rooted in Dadaism, and "concrete poetry" is wholly in the tradition of the poet Arp as well.
In modern culture, Zurab Tsereteli’s art rightfully occupies a special place of honour. His art speaks of the master’s grand, multifaceted personality and personal zeal. The descendant of an old princely dynasty has kept the sense of the honour and valour of his ancestors, and the customs and traditions of the Georgian people; his creative work is a seamless marriage between the originality of Georgian national culture and the experience of Russian and international art.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Moscow Museum of Modem Art, together with the Surikov Arts Institute, and the Scientific Research Museum of the Russian Academy of Arts, opened a new exhibition, “From a Study to an Art Object”. The exhibition, which was supported by the Moscow Government, the Moscow Department of Culture, the Russian Academy of Arts and ENEL company was experimental — but it will surely not be the last of its kind.
Alexander Vinogradov and Vladimir Dubossarsky created their “Seasons of Russian Painting” series especially for one of the rooms of the permanent exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery’s Krymsky Val museum. They are among the few modern artists who combine innovative approaches to expression with the tradition of largesized themed pictures with a carefully arranged composition.
The Finnish sculptor Kari Huhtamo is a versatile artist endowed with an inexhaustible gift for creation. Paradoxical though it may seem, for many years his artwork aroused very different reactions from viewers. Indeed, his vast body of work often makes one feel that there is no single definition to be found that could embrace his art in its entirety. Huhtamo has been counted among the Pop artists, Dadaists, Surrealists, Constructivists, and Kinetic Sculptors. His works are distinguished by mild humour, as well as a glacial elegance crystallized in refined sculptural forms which seem to epitomize the energy of motion. Although one can hardly doubt that Kari Huhtamo is a bona fide Modernist, his works are evidence that an artist can preserve his individuality even amidst the powerful currents of Modernism.
The first six months of the year saw a most impressive array of exhibitions of acclaimed contemporary Russian artists at the Russian Academy of Arts venue on Prechistenka Street in Moscow.