Exhibition "Art Hunters" Automatic translate
с 21 Апреля
по 29 Августа
Музей русского импрессионизма
Ленинградский проспект, д. 15, стр. 11
The first project of the Museum of Russian Impressionism in the anniversary year will be the Art Hunters exhibition about how enthusiastic collectors collected and preserved museum-level works during the years of the thaw and stagnation. From April 21 to August 29, 2021, the exhibition will feature more than 70 works of Russian and Soviet modernism by artists of the first third of the 20th century - from Konstantin Korovin and Alexander Benois to Kazimir Malevich and Niko Pirosmani. The exhibition partner will be the St. Petersburg gallery KGallery.
The fact that Soviet citizens kept masterpieces of painting, graphics and sculpture in their apartments is rarely and little said. The museum will tell the stories of fourteen collectors from Moscow and Leningrad and their findings, many of which are still rarely shown to the general public.
Viewers will be able to see the works of world artists Boris Kustodiev, Konstantin Somov, the symbolists of the Blue Rose Pavel Kuznetsov, Nikolai Sapunov, the Moscow sezannists of the Jack of Diamonds Robert Falk, Ilya Mashkov and Aristarkh Lentulov. The exposition will also include the original primitivist works of Niko Pirosmani from the collection of Igor Sanovich; paintings and graphics by Boris Grigoriev from the collection of Nikolai Timofeev, works by Wassily Kandinsky and Alexei Yavlensky from the collection of our contemporary Valery Dudakov.
Largely thanks to such collectors as film director Solomon Shuster, simultaneous interpreter Alexei Stychkin, doctors Alexander Myasnikov and Aram Abrahamyan, prominent diplomat Vladimir Semyonov, significant works of Russian art have been preserved. In the 1950s and 1980s, the work of modernist artists was publicly condemned and excluded from the permanent exhibitions of state museums. Collectors searched for and acquired works of persecuted masters under the threat of arrest under the article “Speculation”, risking not only funds and property, but also their own freedom. Nowadays, many of these works are sold at auctions for record amounts.
For the heroes of the exhibition, the replenishment of the collections was an attempt to form their own world, an alternative to Soviet reality. Typical collectors’ apartments in Stalin and Khrushchev buildings often turned into real islands of culture and art. More than 200 works by Robert Falk, Pavel Kuznetsov, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Marc Chagall and other masters were kept in the house of the agrophysicist Abram Chudnovsky. Literally every centimeter was occupied by works of art in the communal apartment of mechanic Iosif Ezrakh; physicist Ilya Paleev lived among the canvases of famous artists.
“I started collecting paintings in 1953 to commemorate the death of Stalin,” Soviet economist Yakov Rubinstein recalled, implying that collecting had been simply dangerous before that. Historian Sigismund Valk and petrochemist Igor Afanasyev lived under constant fear of confiscation of collections and repeated arrests. However, the “virus of gathering” was overpowering - and the collections continued to grow.
In Soviet times, it was possible to legally purchase works of art in thrift stores. Before putting new receipts in the public domain, the employees of the commission shops often arranged closed views for a select circle of buyers, who also got the best things. At the same time, avant-garde works were not accepted on the commission for reasons of censorship and were available only to a narrow circle of collectors familiar with the artists, their friends and heirs.
The works presented at the exhibition still belong to the heirs of collectors or to contemporary collectors. Each collection will have a separate section of the exposition; paintings and graphic works will complement the portraits of collectors, made in the style of comics by artist Maria Ponomareva, as well as essays about each collector of art critic and writer Sofia Bagdasarova.
The design of the exhibition in the style of a crime drama will reflect the almost detective story of the hunt for objects of art. An important part of the project will be a series of photographs by the chronicler of the late Soviet era Igor Palmin: it will help make a virtual journey into the past, remember or try to feel the atmosphere of those years.
The curator of the exhibition is Anastasia Vinokurova, leading specialist of the exhibition department of the Museum of Russian Impressionism.
Exposition for the anniversary of the museum
Along with the Art Hunters exhibition, the museum will present a special project in honor of its fifth anniversary. The exposition on the third floor will remind visitors of past projects: the public’s favorite portraits from the Wives exhibition, paintings by Nikolai Feshin and Pavel Benkov, paintings from the collection of Vladimir Spivakov, as well as works by Nikolai Meshcherin, Arnold Lakhovsky, Mikhail Shemyakin, David Burliuk will return to the walls of the museum, Yuri Annenkov and other Russian artists.
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