1960s UNOFFICIAL ART
STEINBERG Eduard Arkadevich (1937–2012) Composition with a bird. 1971. Oil on canvas. 45.5 × 90
1971 — Steinberg's Moscow-Tarusian period. A light, airy, luminous piece. Figurative basis dominates in this work. Although if you look closely, the background on which the bird flies is dissected by a geometric element, typical of the artist's Suprematist line.
Steinberg worked on the painting in October. Nature was frowning with rain, the sun was setting early, and birds were flocking on their way to warmer climes. However, the artist is clearly not painting an autumn landscape, but a work with a symbolic meaning. The bird in general is an early Christian, catacomb cipher. Just as the fish is the coded name of Jesus, so the bird is the carrier of souls, the mediator between heaven and earth. Researchers have found such images in the catacombs of Rome and other secret refuges of early Christians. The dove (and in Steinberg it is a white dove) in biblical texts is a messenger of peace, a symbol of innocence and purity. In early Christian painting the image of a dove was sometimes used as a metaphor for depicting the apostles. The dove also symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit. And in some contexts, the bird serves as a symbol of communion.
SVESHNIKOV Boris Petrovich (1927–1998) Deathly exodus. 1992. Oil on canvas. 65 × 80
This painting by Boris Petrovich Sveshnikov is reproduced in Valery Dudakov's album “Boris Sveshnikov. Free in the world of unfreedom”. This is information for those collectors who specifically hunt for the published pieces. It is interesting that Sveshnikov was one of the first teachers of the young Edik Steinberg. Released from the camp, Sveshnikov came to learn to live anew in Tarusa with Eduard's father, Arkady Akimovich Steinberg. They quickly became friends, and Petrovich gave a lot of advice to the budding artist.
The plot of the picture is much less gloomy than its title. Sveshnikov did not try to please the viewer, did not give lucrative commercial titles. All his paintings are originally intimate things, painted for himself, into the desk. During his lifetime the artist never ceased to be amazed when collectors gave good money for them. But Sveshnikov, as is often the case with innovators, was ahead of his time. And today he has become much more understandable to collectors than 30–40 years ago. For those who are only beginning to become acquainted with his oeuvre, we recommend reading the artist's biography — how he ended up in the Gulag, how he survived, how he sought a place in civilian life. There you will find the origins of the phantasmagories and surrealistic worlds created by the artist.
CHUBAROV Evgeny Iosifovich (1934–2012) Priestess of love. 1977. Drawing board, oil. 104 × 91
Before us is one of the most powerful and one of the most underappreciated expressionists of the post-war unofficial art — the “recluse of Mytishchi” Evgeny Chubarov. Kabakov called him a living genius. But Chubarov's volcano erupted far from the passions of metropolitan art life. He shied away from resonant exhibitions and essentially professed intellectual hermitage. How bad it is — we now know. Today, a significant body of work by the artist (especially the late abstract ones) is locked up in private collections. There are few paintings by Chubarov on the market; there is no “blood for the market”. And, alas, to popularize his work, there is a catastrophic lack of information activity — exhibitions, books, catalogs. Therefore, those who want to read something about the artist will have to collect information bit by bit.
The appearance of “Priestess of love” is a rare occasion when there is a chance to buy Chubarov's painting of the 1970s. The condition of the board is difficult. Worse than it should be. At one time, a collector saved the perishing work by trading it from Chubarov. Interestingly, the artist left the prints of his palms on the back — another additional signature besides the one on the front side.
NEMUKHIN Vladimir Nikolaevich (1925–2016) Jack of Diamonds. 1970. Paper, gouache, tempera, mixed media. 60 × 47.5
A find for those looking for early Nemukhin. 1970 — four years before the Bulldozer exhibition. But already completely recognizable main theme — “Jack of Diamonds”. At one time this work was bought by the Chilean ambassador to the Soviet Union, then it was in the British collection and returned to Russia in 2016.
Vladimir Nemukhin was an artist of the Lianozovsky group, an associate of Rabin, a participant in the Bulldozer exhibition (1974), as well as an exhibition in the Beekeeping Pavilion (1975). His trademark technique was the use of card suits and symbols. Interestingly, for Nemukhin, cards were a source of aesthetic inspiration, rather than an element of admiration for the game, which he did not touch.
SLEPYSHEV Anatoly Stepanovich (1932–2016) Roadside Venus. 1999. Oil on canvas. 70 × 100
Pastoral in Russian — erotica in an entourage of the harsh rural life. And then there is Slepyshev's favourite line of high-voltage wires going into the distance. It is both a symbol of hope and an image-vanitas (everything is vanity of vanities, and everything passes).
Slepyshev is an artist from the sixties, belonging to the orbit of unofficial art. A bright, distinctive Russian expressionist. His paintings hung in the Greek cabinet of the Costakis Gallery, his works are included in most of the important collections of “other art” and in the leading museum collections of the country.
TSELKOV Oleg Nikolaevich (1934–2021) A glass of wine. 1992. Oil on canvas. 27 × 16
Chamber signature work — at the top of the picture by the hand of the author inscribed Oleg Tselkov. Painting in this format belongs to the most accessible range by the standards of Tselkov — around $ 10,000. This is a wonderful gift for someone and for yourself. Even a small painting is 100% recognizable and eye-catching. It will especially suit the owners of “dense” established collections, where Tselkov will have to compete on the walls with other first names.
Oleg Tselkov is a nonconformist, sixties artist who emigrated to France in 1977. He is one of the top 10 most expensive artists of post-war art. The auction record for his work was set last year when his 1957 painting “Boy with Balloons” sold at Sotheby's for $ 720,000.