BELENOK Petr Ivanovich (1938–1991) Sheer joy. 1987. Hardboard, mixed media. 122 × 136

Rare in mood Belenok. The inventor of “panic realism” suddenly turned to a warm, optimistic plot, even if not without a slight melancholy. The author's title is “Sheer Joy”. Where did this come from? One might speculate. The year of 1987 was a time of hope and optimism. The plenum of the CPSU Central Committee set a course for Perestroika. Gorbachev announced the need to overcome the era of stagnation and renew all aspects of life in the country. An extraordinary revival prevailed in the country. No one yet knows about the shock therapy, Pavlov’s monetary reform and the high price that the people had to pay for the transformation of the system.

NEIZVESTNY Ernst Iosifovich (1925–2016) Orpheus. 1962–1964 Bronze. Height 50 cm

This sculpture was made by Ernst Neizvestny on the night after the Manezh events of 1962, when the author of the Thaw, Nikita Khrushchev, lashed out at artists who didn't understand him and declared that he was a Stalinist in art. The veteran Ernst Neizvestny was probably the only artist who dared to oppose the Secretary General. He explained, reasoned and reassured. These days, this would appear to be a moment of hotheadedness. But in 1962, after the fierce criticism of the party's top officials, the artists were seriously expecting arrests.

Orpheus is a hero of ancient Greek myths, a legendary poet and musician. It was he who went down to the realm of the dead in Hades to rescue his beloved Eurydice from there. By his magical playing on the golden lyre (a gift from Apollo) Orpheus won the favour of Cerberus the dog and the uncompromising Charon, who was carrying souls across the river Styx. Struck by the musician's courage, Hades and his wife agreed to let the nymph Eurydice go, but Orpheus broke the condition not to look back at his beloved on the way back. And the nymph was returned to the realm of the dead. According to one version, the inconsolable Orpheus tore his chest to play the last song on the strings of his soul.

The image of Orpheus in Neizvestny's sculpture symbolizes the special role of the creative person in society. It underscores his sacrifice, his right to an independent authorial view and his readiness to give his life for art. And at the same time it underscores his defenselessness, otherness and vulnerability to powerful forces.

A reduced copy of the Orpheus sculpture, at the suggestion of Vladimir Pozner, became the main prize of TEFI — the award of the Academy of Russian Television. This is one of the most important and most famous works of Ernst Neizvestny.



STEINBERG Eduard Arkadievich (1937–2012) Composition. 1977. Oil on canvas. 60.3 × 52.7

1977. A classic Steinberg of the best period in a comfortable collector's size. Before us is the trademark metaphysical geometry, a development of the ideas of Suprematism. The work comes from the collection of the pianist Vladimir Feltsman. Eduard Steinberg was close to the Sretensky Boulevard Group, which included Kabakov, Bulatov, Sooster, and Yankilevsky. His first high-profile exhibition, dispersed by the authorities, was held at the House of Culture in Tarusa in 1961. Later Steinberg participated in a high-profile exhibition organized by Glezer at the “Druzhba” House of Culture in 1967 and at the “Beekeeping” Pavilion at VDNKh in 1975. In 1988 Eduard Steinberg emigrated to Germany and then to France. The last years Steinberg lived in two cities: Paris and Tarusa. Now a museum has been organized in Tarusa — the workshop of Eduard Steinberg under the auspices of the Pushkin Museum.

VULOKH Igor Alexandrovich (1938–2012) Hidden. 1977. Oil on cardboard. 60 × 80

Igor Vulokh's painting “Hidden” has a good provenance. It comes from the collection of the late Iosif Badalov, and participated in the high-profile exhibitions “Tradition of Nonconformism” in 2009 and the Vulokh retrospective in the museum. The painting belongs to a particularly valuable period and has been published in at least two catalogs. Large size. Pictorial technique. For the only Vulokh in the collection, this is an impeccable option.

Igor Vulokh was a sixties artist of unofficial art. A favorite of Costakis. Master of meditative conventionality. In the last two years, his works have become the hits of our auctions. Vulokh's works are in the collections of the country's major museums and important private collections, including those of the Semenikhins, Alshibai, Kurtzer, and others.

ZVEREV Anatoly Timofeevich (1931–1986) Dish with apples. 1980. Paper, oil, gouache. 39 × 56

An inspired still life in a characteristically expressive manner. The painting comes from the collection of Maria Titova, who was Zverev's doctor and a friend of his muse Oksana Aseeva. The work is painted impulsively, at a fast pace, from nature, temperamentally, virtuoso. Expert Valery Silaev considers it an absolute creative success and ranks it among the works that may have museum value. Anatoly Zverev is a legend of unofficial art, an outstanding expressionist and improviser.

KULAKOV Mikhail Alekseevich (1933–2015) Composition. 1975. Oil on paper, mixed media. 64 × 88

In 1959, Mikhail Kulakov's works began to be shown at apartment exhibitions by Alexander Rumnev, the “discoverer of Zverev”. Later, art historian Tsirlin, who paid the price for his interest in unofficial art, helped him organize a solo exhibition. In the early 1960s, Kulakov's works were exhibited mostly at closed exhibitions at scientific institutes. There his work was noticed by Petr Kapitsa, and he soon became his faithful collector.

In 1976, Kulakov married the granddaughter of Italian conductor Marianne Molla and emigrated to Italy. Since then his works have been exhibited in foreign exhibitions of Russian art in exile.

In the USSR and Russia, his paintings began to be exhibited again only after Perestroika. And in 2008, Kulakov's personal exhibition was held in the Tretyakov Gallery.

This abstract work by the sixties artist Mikhail Kulakov comes from the collection of Alexander Reznikov, participated in the exhibition “Moscow Underground. Abstract Painting of the 1960s from the collection of Alexander Reznikov” in Venice in 2012 and published in the catalog.

NEMUKHIN Vladimir Nikolaevich (1925–2016) Composition with letters. 2011. Canvas, graphite pencil, acrylic, collage, veneer. 61.5 × 47.5

“Composition with letters” is one of the reference subjects in Nemukhin's work. One of its possible interpretations is a dialogue with the futurist Velimir Khlebnikov, and the letters form the texts of “abstrusity”. The painting is done at the highest technical level, using collage, veneer, and hand-cutting. A perfect piece for a collection. Recall that Nemukhin is one of the key artists of the circle of the sixties, a participant in the Bulldozer Exhibition and Rabin's ally in the Lianozovo group.

ORLOV Boris Konstantinovich (1941) Rostral column. 1989. Paper, pencil, gouache. 68.5 × 49

The people of St. Petersburg know, and we will remind the rest. Why is the column called rostral? A rostrum is the bow of a ship with a battering ram. The Romans used to remove them from captured ships and decorate as trophies the oratory rostrum of the Forum. Later rostra were used as a symbolic decorative element in architecture. In particular, in rostral columns, which were used to give light warning to ships in foggy weather.

In the sixties artist Boris Orlov’s work, the rostrum on the column is the figure of a sailor on the bow of the cruiser “Boris Orlov”. A sailor's cap. Orders to the full chest. An absolutely recognizable plot of social heraldry. The characters of the “imperial artist” Boris Orlov have no faces. Their identity is defined by orders, medals and chevrons. His people are a function in which the personality is displaced by the manifestation of the social role. A fine collector's piece.

BOGOMOLOV Gleb Sergeevich (1933–2016) Mariage. 1998. Canvas, oil, collage, mixed media. 50 × 40

Gleb Bogomolov was a Leningrad non-conformist, self-taught artist, a representative of the “janitor and watchman generation”. In 1974, he participated in an avant-garde group exhibition at the Gaza Culture Center, where he exhibited together with Alexander Arefiev, Yuri Zharkikh, Evgeny Rukhin and others. And in 1975, he took part in an exhibition at the Culture Center “Nevsky”. The names of these culture centers are now immortalized in the term “gazanevsky culture”. At the end of the 1970s, Bogomolov's works were shown at exhibitions of the “Museum of Russian Art in Exile” by Alexander Glezer. They traveled to cities in Europe and the United States along with works by Mikhail Chemiakine, Ernst Neizvestny, Oleg Tselkov, Igor Shelkovsky, and Evgeny Mikhnov-Voytenko.