CURRENT ISSUE - #2 2021 (71)
ART AND PERSONALITY
Let the game begin. Have these hollow cocoon-bodied figures really reached us from some metaphysical remoteness, or does it just seem that way? Their figures are wrapped with bandages of playing cards, like the wounded or the mummified dead of Ancient Egypt. They are speechless, they have nothing to say, yet we understand that they are arrivals from unknown lands in which passion burns souls to ashes, which is to say that they are allegories in the most banal and most elevated sense with regard to style and the meaning of the figure. We also know that it was the artist herself - Natalya Nesterova - who invited them: it is at her canvases that we are looking, those are her colours and her images. On a table in her studio on Arbat Street there is a partial deck of cards, a game of solitaire spread out nearby. Let the cards foretell.
In the spring and summer of 2021, the Tretyakov Gallery is set to host an exhibition of work by the colourful and original artist Tatiana Mavrina (1900-1996).
On the 150th Anniversary of Anna Ostroumova-Lebedeva’s Birth St. Petersburg had neither a Piranesi, like Rome, nor a Canaletto, like Venice - the city on the Neva lacked an artist who would devote themselves entirely to glorifying it. In the mid 18th century, Mikhail Makhaev could have been such an artist, but the times would not allow it: having completed a number of glorious etchings of Baroque Petersburg, he was forced to turn to other, more practical projects. At the end of the same century, this was again the case with Fyodor Alekseyev, the creator of wonderful landscape panoramas of the Northern Capital, who was obliged to devote the majority of his canvases to Moscow.
On the 140th Anniversary of Olga Sacharoff
I am not sure whether to classify Olga Sacharoff as one of our own artists or as a foreign artist - in her case, it is difficult to avoid ethnographic picturesqueness. “Isn’t she Russian?” is what everyone says, but I always want to answer: “I’m not sure.” It’s very likely that she herself isn’t sure. Indeed, how could one possibly state with confidence “She’s Russian and that’s all there is to it”? The thing is, she moved to Barcelona during the Great War. The thing is, no one has managed to better express in painting the essential quintessence not simply of the Catalonian soul, but specifically the soul of Barcelona, than this woman who, if I may so express myself, can hardly be said to speak any of the Western European languages.
On the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Efrem Zverkov
An elevated relation to the world, delicate lyricism, poetry and a sense of nature’s harmony are all elements in the art of Efrem Zverkov (1921-2012). The artist’s creative path began during the years of Krushchev’s Thaw. The art of the Shestidesyatniki (the generation of the 1960s) is both an artistic and a cultural-historic phenomenon as the era’s leading painters undoubtedly reflected their personal perspective on the key moments of the period and were able to raise our country’s culture to new heights.
The campaign to export art treasures initiated by the Soviet government in the 1920s and 1930s affected numerous Russian museums. The State Museum of Ceramics was one of them, with many of its valuable exhibits donated to Antikvariat, the public agency responsible for the sale of art and antiques abroad. A review of the museum’s archive documents has helped restore the chronology of events of those times, estimate the scope of losses and study the composition of the items offered for sale.
“GRANY” FOUNDATION PRESENTS
The inheritance of artworks has been, historically, a problematic issue. There are disputes between heirs, concealment of artworks by those who are not heirs but have access to the premises in which the artworks are stored, taxation questions and intellectual rights issues. All of these matters should be considered when succession planning for any art collection. Otherwise, there is a great risk that such collections could go to third parties.