#2 2007 (15)



Yekaterina Selezneva

The idea behind “Europe, Russia, Europe” was a simple one: bringing together important works from leading museums from 28 countries creates an impressive exhibition. Careful study of these works gives rise to a multitude of fascinating questions and discussions. The most obvious, perhaps, would be: when and how did the plastic languages of European art develop? How, and why, do the artistic processes taking place in various areas of Europe differ? In what ways do the arts overlap and influence each other? What is the relationship between cultural and historical processes? How is politics reflected in art, and does art determine politics?

SOTS-ART. Political Art in Russia


Andrei Yerofeev

The Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art has closed in the Russian capital, and as part of it the Tretyakov Gallery held a third exhibition in its long-term cycle “Trends in Russian Art”. Following the “Abstractions” and “Russian Pop-Art” shows, the new exhibition was dedicated to Sots-Art, and the historical and typological retrospective of the same name was held between 2 March and 1 April 2007. Outside Russia, Sots-Art is, without doubt, the best-known trend in Soviet art of the second half of the 20th century. Alongside pieces by Russian artists, the “Sots-art” exhibition also showed work by their Chinese colleagues, who were greatly influenced by this movement. Occupying five rooms on the third floor of the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val, the exhibition covered approximately 2,000 square meters



Yevgenia Kikodze

The Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art has certainly become a significant event in Russia’s cultural life. Almost every Moscow organization in any way related to contemporary art - including museums, galleries, centres of contemporary art, private foundations and even the trendiest of clubs - have tried to make a statement by their participation in the preparation of the exhibition calendar. Their wider purpose is to accurately and proudly present contemporary art in Russia, as well as invite the numerous guests of the Biennale to acquaint themselves with Russian art, both from today and from the recent past.

White Gold: The Tradition and Modernity of Chinese Porcelain


Organized by the Tretyakov Gallery and the State museum and exhibition centre ROSIZO, the exhibition “White Gold: The Tradition and Modernity of Chinese Porcelain” which opened on March 27 at the Tretyakov Gallery, has been one of the first and most momentous events marking the Year of China in Russia.



Lyudmila Markina

Looking at the Russian graves in Testacchio, the Roman cemetery for non-Catholics, in the autumn of 2003, my attention was drawn to one particularly well-tended tombstone. My guide Vanda Gasperovich, a lecturer at the University of Rome, explained that the grave belonged to Sergei Ivanov, architect and brother of the outstanding Russian painter. Sergei Ivanov, it seemed, had left a significant sum of money to the German Archaeological Institute of Rome, which now tended his grave. Several days later, I visited the library and archives of the German Archaeological Institute, and was quickly rewarded with a number of valuable, and unexpected, finds. The first was a letter from Pavel Tretyakov to Sergei Ivanov, sent from Moscow in the spring of 1873. Wrongly listed as intended for the Archimandrite Sophony, the letter was to be delivered to “l’Archimandrite Sophony, al’Ambasad Imperiale de Russie Roma pour remettre a Monsinor Serg Iwanoff”



Nicoletta Misler

Among some of the most fascinating and prized items owned by the State Tretyakov Gallery is Mikhail Nesterov’s famous double portrait of the philosophers Pavel Florensky (1882-1937) and Sergei Bulgakov[1] (1871-1944). Painted in 1917 and showing the two men in Sergiev Posad, for many years “The Philosophers” was consigned to storage; yet now, once again, it forms part of the Tretyakov Gallery’s display as a vital element of Nesterov’s creative and spiritual development. Deacon Sergiy Trubachev’s important article[2], written to mark Florensky’s the 100th anniversary of Florensky’s birth and examining this very painting, focuses in particular on its spiritual merit. Deacon Trubachev’s study offered a convenient starting point for this article.

To See the World Transformed. On the 120th anniversary of the birth of Olga Rozanova


Yevgenia Polatovskaya

On March 29, at the end of its jubilee year, the Tretyakov Gallery opened new exhibition premises reconstructed by the Government of Moscow - “The Exhibition Hall in Tolmachi”, which is close to the main building of the gallery. The opening of the new hall was marked by the solo exhibition of Olga Rozanova (1886-1918), one of the most significant figures of the Russian avant-garde, who left a distinct heritage in 20th century art, despite her short life. More than 50 canvases and graphic works are on display



Natalia Apchinskaya

The invitation card shows Volkov’s “Wedding” from 1927: a trumpeter in vivid red plays a triumphant, festive melody, forming a colourful trio with the two Uzbeks beside him, in blue and green. In the long row of faces, frozen in silent contemplation of the mysteries of Life, one may distinguish that of Volkov himself: second on the right, he has a more European air than the others.

A Double Portrait: Sargent and Sorolla


Tom Birchenough

One of the main exhibitions of Winter 2006 in Madrid was an unprecedented “double” exhibition of the artists John Singer Sargent and Joaquin Sorolla, staged in two locations – the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and the major central city exhibition hall, the Fundacion Caja Madrid. After its closure in Spain in January, it will run at the Petit Palais in Paris until May 13.

"Meeting Modigliani" - at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts


Vitaly Mishin

The exhibition’s title makes clear that this is the first truly extensive show of works by the brilliant Italian master in Russia. The artistic legacy of Modigliani is scattered all over the world, in museums and private collections - and only international exhibition projects would have a chance to present any significant number of works by this artist, even if for a limited time only. Over 20 museums and private collections in Europe and America participated in the Moscow project. Ultimately, the exhibition organizers have managed to present 25 paintings, one sculpture, and 27 drawings, accompanied with the archive materials. (Russian museums own only two works of the master - drawings in the Pushkin Museum collection).

In Memory of Nikolai Meshcherin


Nikolai Gagman

In 2006, the year of its 150th jubilee, the Tretyakov Gallery acquired a significant number of works by the artist Nikolai Meshcherin (1864-1916). Presented as a gift by Nikolai Gagman, art restorer and long-standing member of the Igor Grabar All-Union Centre for Art Research and Restoration, the donation included 17 oil and tempera paintings and six pastels by Meshcherin, as well as archive documents and photographs shedding light on the artist’s life and work. Many years ago, these were purchased from Meshcherin’s widow Lydia Goriacheva-Meshcherina by Gagman’s father Alexander Nikolaevich, a Doctor of Medicine and one of the founders of surgical urology. For many decades, this small treasure remained in the Gagman family. Nikolai Gagman took the best possible care of his father’s collection, doing everything within his means to make Meshcherin better known as an artist. In 1987, Nikolai Gagman organised an exhibition of Meshcherin’s work and published a catalogue to accompany the event, writing the introduction and selecting some fascinating archive material for the catalogue himself. The catalogue included all of Meshcherin’s works from museums and private collections in Russia which Gagman had succeeded in locating.

"Solomon’s Wall” in Moscow


Vasily Vereshchagin’s “Solomon’s Wall” (1884-1885) came to Russia for the first time and was exhibited for two weeks in March at the Tretyakov Gallery in the Vereshchagin Room, next to other works by this famous Russian artist.



Ivan Samarine

On March 15, Ivan Samarine and the Stockholm Auction House (Stockholms Auktionsverk) held their third Russian Auction, a sale devoted entirely to Russian art. Including more than 400 lots, nearly half were paintings, dating from Alexander Roslin from the 18th century to the non-conformists of the 1970s. There was also a small section of icons, some furniture, silver and Faberge, quite an extensive collection of porcelain, early Soviet posters, some textiles and some books. Estimates ranged from $ 250,0 - $ 400,000.

Dementy Shmarinov. Memories of an Artist


Anatoly Zykov

Managing a large group of creative individuals is no mean task. Artists are a touchy bunch, each and every one a "complex personality”! Dementy Alexeievich Shmarinov was thrice elected chairman of the Moscow Union of Artists. Following his third election, as art studios all over the capital buzzed with heated discussion of the new Union board and chairperson, my neighbour, the monumental artist Boris Miliukov summed up the situation perfectly: "There's no one else who could do it - only Shmarinov!” "Shmarinov could really be Minister for Culture,” someone added. Artists believed in Dementy Shmarinov - clear-headed, yet profoundly human, he was both a practical and sensitive organiser.



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