1970s UNOFFICIAL ART
SHULZHENKO Vasily Vladimirovich (1949) Kasimov metamorphoses. 2019. Oil on canvas. 200 × 150
Why Kasimov? Kasimov is an ancient town in the Ryazan region on the picturesque high bank of Oka. In those parts, in the village, Vasily Shulzhenko spent his childhood. It was there that he got his first glimpse of bizarre representatives of human fauna, which many years later turned into phantasmagoric characters in his paintings. The artist himself has repeatedly emphasized that he was not part of a rash of drunkards and their merry girlfriends. But all in his works, gives away that the life and manners in the Russian countryside, he knows firsthand. At the same time the artist denies the existence of prototypes of the heroes of his paintings in real life. He insists that the images are born spontaneously, out of his head, and any portrait coincidences are accidental. So we are faced with just a dream on a summer night. But what and who is dreaming there — let everyone decide for himself.
Vasily Shulzhenko is a favourite of bold collectors. Grotesque, harsh, ruthless — undoubtedly, he himself is a man of no short order. In his subjects the artist repeatedly gets into painful themes for the “deep people”, for which he regularly receives accusations of Russophobia. In particular, his programmatic work “Latrine” has remained an object of attacks for pseudo-patriots for many years.
1960s UNOFFICIAL ART
ZVEREV Anatoly Timofeevich (1931–1986) Birches. 1968. Hardboard, oil. 71 × 57
In a number of valuable and collectors' favorite Zverev landscapes of the late 1960s, conifers predominate. Pines in Sokolniki, pines on Nikolina Gora. As for the birch grove in oil — we do not immediately recall ever having seen at least once. Definitely a rarity.
The authenticity of the painting is confirmed by the expert opinion of Valery Silaev with the note “may be of museum value”.
SVESHNIKOV Boris Petrovich (1927–1998) Shadow of an Angel. 1970s Oil on canvas. 75 × 75
Sveshnikov's especially valuable inspired “blue period”, late 1970s. Soft palette and romantic plot. The painting “Shadow of an Angel” was acquired from the author by Piero Savoretti, an Italian who in the 1960s helped the Soviet leadership to conclude a contract with FIAT for the construction of an automobile plant in Togliatti. And now this painting has returned to Russia again.
Boris Sveshnikov is a romantic who survived the Stalinist camps. Since then, many of his paintings have included phantasmagoric characters, creatures from other worlds. For many years he showed his works only to a narrow circle of trusted people.
LEBEDEV Rostislav Evgenievich (1946) Dedication to A. Venetsianov. Early 1990s. Canvas, oil. 136 × 120
The source of inspiration for this conceptual koan is the 1820s painting “Peasant Woman with Cornflowers” by Alexey Venetsianov (the original is in the Tretyakov Gallery). The image of a young Tver peasant woman Venetsianov used to convey both subtle melancholy and signs of hope. Cornflowers on the lap of the girl create a vivid coloristic accent. But in Lebedev's painting we do not see the flowers. They are hidden by the starry veil. Beauty of the 19th century is at the service of commerce. And now museum masterpieces are turned into the labels on the boxes of chocolates. In a word, we are faced with the conflict and symbiosis of the old and new art — one of the main themes in Rostislav Lebedev's works.
The artist is considered to be a pioneer of Sots Art. The idea of an absurdist mockery of the hypocrisy of the surrounding life was simply in the air in the 1970s. Several young artists, including Komar with Melamid, Sokov and Lebedev, picked up the idea independently of one another. The blatant insincerity of the party slogans and the complete divergence between “refrigerator” and “TV” produced a unique direction in unofficial art.
Today, the works of Rostislav Lebedev are presented in the best museum of unofficial art Zimmerli (collection of Norton Dodge), in the Tretyakov Gallery and in the Russian Museum. The auction record for his work was set at Sotheby's and amounted to $ 60,000.
GROSITSKY Andrey Borisovich (1934–2017) Bundle. 2001. Oil on wood, mixed media. 71 × 68
A mystical still life by the poet of things Andrey Grositsky. What's the bundle in the wall? A treasure? Or some kind of message? It's a mystery. It is only clear that the artist especially valued this work. It participated in several exhibitions in Russia and abroad.
VECHTOMOV Nikolay Evgenievich (1923–2007) Night flights. 1994. Hardboard, oil. 45 × 35
Biomorphic systems in a red palette. Vechtomov of the classic plot in the branded palette. An excellent option to start the collection.
Nikolay Vechtomov was an artist of the Lianozovo group. He was a front-line soldier. Bright color accents in his works are initially sublimation of flashes of explosions, which he saw in the war. Later these luminous spots became his characteristic handwriting in surrealistic landscapes.
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