NESTEROVA Natalia Igorevna (1944) Winter. 2005. Oil on canvas. 99 × 148
Cozy and warm, despite the winter storyline, Nesterova. A winter park. Trees covered with snow. A coachman waiting for a passenger to ride in a carriage. One and a half meters of peace and pleasure.
Natalya Nesterova came to fame quite early — when she was still a member of the youth section of the Moscow Union of Artists. It is sometimes surprising that this quite systematic artist was not stifled by creative assignments on propaganda themes in the 1970s. On the contrary, Nesterova's language remained completely alien to the demands of socialist realism. Nesterova created her very recognizable, distinctive contemplative neo-primitivism almost 50 years ago. And her language remains contemporary even today. Her paintings are a conversation about life here and now. She tries more often to remind of modest pleasures and moments of happiness. Nesterova does not reproach or educate. Her paintings are about rejoicing in good weather, pleasant company, delicious food and the opportunity to travel to interesting places. And our “Winter” is from the same line. There is a signature, title, and date on the back.
NEMUKHIN Vladimir Nikolaevich (1925–2016) Composition with Black Circle. 2000. Oil on canvas, collage, mixed media. 120 × 120
The work is large — meter twenty by meter twenty. It was written 22 years ago. For Nemukhin, size carries not only a decorative, but also a symbolic meaning. Whereas compact and medium-sized works were planned as a convenient collector's option, large works are already a museum format. In front of us is a well-known plot — a favorite and repeated in different iterations. This composition is often referred to as the “Card Table”, but this is inaccurate. In the catalog, which was compiled and verified by Nemukhin himself, this plot is called “Composition with Black Circle”. The black circle is read as one of the primary symbols of Suprematism and as the black sun. A charged, powerful work by a member of the Lianozovo group, a participant of the Bulldozer exhibition, one of the pillars of postwar unofficial art.
NEIZVESTNY Ernst Iosifovich (1925–2016) Bones and Flesh. 1980. Oil on canvas. 84.5 × 109.5
A one-meter canvas by the legend of unofficial art, Ernst Neizvestny. “Bones and Flesh” is one of the main subjects of his work. There are many metaphors here. On the first level of reading it is a tribute to the genre of vanitas, an allegorical philosophical reminder of the frailty of life. Except that in contrast to the tranquil Dutch still lifes, there is not an ounce of humility in this composition. Quite the contrary. Let's fight some more! Combat, brutal might, the triumph of vitality. The finale is the same for all. In the meantime, let's see who is who.
Ernst Neizvestny was an outstanding sculptor, painter and graphic artist. He designed the 75-meter monument “Lotus Flower” at the Aswan Dam in Egypt. He is the author of the “Mask of Sorrow” in Magadan and the “Tree of Life” in Moscow. After the conflict at the Manezh-62, when the artist was forced to clash with Khrushchev (in response to the “daub” and other invectives), he fell into disfavor for many years. In the year1976 the artist emigrated. “Bones and Flesh” was painted in his early years in the United States. There is a signature and date in the lower right corner. The authenticity of the work is confirmed by the artist's daughter, Olga Neizvestnaya.
1960s UNOFFICIAL ART
VULOKH Igor Alexandrovich (1938–2012) Morning. 1965–2008. Oil on canvas. 50.5 × 50
The painting by the sixties artist Igor Vulokh has an impeccable provenance and comes from the artist's family. And there is an interesting story associated with it. Did you pay attention to the date of creation? 1965–2008. 43 years apart. And, as it turns out, two lives. The fact is that in 1965 Igor Vulokh painted a conceptual minimalist work, which today you can see only in the catalog of the 2008 Moscow exhibition on page 116. There it is called “Fragment 1”. Do you recognize it? But in 2008 the artist decided to change the original idea, added details and essentially rewrote that composition. So the “Fragment” turned into the landscape “Morning”. Such improvisations — covers of old works — are not uncommon in art. In such cases it is customary to put two dates: the time of creation of the original work and the date of birth of the new one.
The authenticity of the work is confirmed by the artist's widow, Natalia Okhota.
ZVEREV Anatoly Timofeevich (1931–1986) Flower. 1958. Watercolor on paper. 39 × 30 (in light)
An early Zverev of the most valuable period. Author's signature and date in the lower right corner: AZ 58
On the reverse side there is an inscription: “Flower”. This drawing was once in the collection of the French conductor Igor Markevich, who was nicknamed “Igor the Second” (meaning the second after Stravinsky). It is known that Markevich did a lot to popularize Zverev's work in the West. There is a story that in 1965 Markevich locked Zverev in his room in the Moscow Metropol Hotel so that the artist would not be distracted and wrote enough works for an exhibition in Paris.
Spectacular, delicate work. Blooming water lily on the smooth surface of the pond. In the style of the Chinese watercolor masters. The most valuable year 1958. The authenticity of the drawing was confirmed by the conclusion of Valery Silaev. The expert notes its museum value.
KROPIVNITSKY Lev Evgenievich (1922–1994) Lurking. 1990. Oil on canvas. 90 × 50
An artist of the Lianozovo group, from the Kropivnitsky clan, the son of “Grandfather” — Evgeny Leonidovich. Front-line soldier, disabled war veteran. Immediately after the Victory, in 1946, Lev Kropivnitsky received 10 years in labor camps for belonging to an “anti-Soviet terrorist organization”. He served 8 years. After his release, he worked as a designer, book graphic artist, and even an art critic. The painting “Lurking” of 1990 is a characteristic piece of the phantasmagoric period of Lev Kropivnitsky. Signed, titled and dated on the back. Valery Silaev's expertise evaluates the work as a monument of unofficial art, representing artistic and collector's value.
SVESHNIKOV Boris Petrovich (1927–1998) Returned Spring. 1989. Oil on canvas. 80 × 70
In 1946, a young student of the art institute Boris Sveshnikov received 10 years of labor camps in the same trumped-up case as with Kropivnitsky. He also survived. Also by a miracle. More than once he was on the verge of death from starvation and disease. After liberation, Sveshnikov returned to Moscow, got a job at a publishing house, started working as a book illustrator — what is called “returned to peaceful life”. Except that his world had changed. The paintings and drawings he made into his desk, for himself, were populated by infernal characters. Almost every work had mysticism, death- girlfriend, phantasmagoria. An unprepared person would be horrified. But this is exactly the kind of Sveshnikov loved and appreciated by collectors. “Returned Spring” is one of the quieter works, roughly at the beginning of the “infernality scale”. This is an excellent option to enhance the collection. On the reverse side there are the signature, the author's title and the date — the year '89 — 33 years ago.
BUKH Aron Froimovich (1923–2006) Nude. 2000. Oil on canvas. 70 × 50
Nudes are perhaps the most valuable theme in the work of Aron Bukh. The most passionate and the rarest. And therefore especially loved by collectors. Red-haired model. Expression. Spectacular Soutine’s red. Good just about everything. Plus an impeccable provenance. A great collector's item.
SLEPYSHEV Anatoly Stepanovich (1932–2016) Dwelling house. 1979. Oil on canvas. 90 × 90
Pay attention to the year. 1979! It is a rarity. Here Slepyshev is not yet as blottesque as he became in the '90s. But the themes are all his own. Emotional ladies, a man with a bag. Plus some kind of mess on the roof, and none other than a wizard flying in a blue helicopter. Life in the red house is booming.
Anatoly Slepyshev considered the artist of “quiet art” Arthur Fonvizin to be his teacher. Slepyshev did not belong to any nonconformist group and, unlike many, was a member of the Union of Artists since 1967. But he was repeatedly censored and was close to the orbit of unofficial art. In particular, Slepyshev exhibited with the nonconformists at the exhibition in the “House of Culture” at VDNKh in 1975 and at apartment exhibitions.
KOSHLYAKOV Valery Nikolaevich (1962) Head of a girl. 1995. Canvas, emulsions, mixed media. 60 × 40
Valery Koshlyakov needs no introduction. With the auction record of $ 147,000 set at Sotheby's, he is among the top 20 most expensive living Russian artists and in the top 5 artists of contemporary art. His main theme is a conversation about the loss of classical culture. About elusive beauty. And the ruthlessness of time.
Fortunately, what we have before us is not just a very distinctive but, importantly, a lasting work by Koshlyakov. Only canvas and emulsions. No corrugated cardboard, no duct tape, no other “poor” material. And the size is also important! Not a gigantic two by three meters (which is far from being the limit for Koshlyakov), but quite a comfortable collector's format — 60 by 40. Recommended!