1960s UNOFFICIAL ART
RUKHIN Evgeny Lvovich (1943–1976) Composition with baguette. 1972. Canvas, oil, resin, collage, mixed media. 100 × 97
Evgeny Rukhin had a reputation not only as one of the most daring nonconformists, but also as one of the most commercially successful artists of “dip-art”. The young member of the Lianozovo group and participant of the Bulldozer exhibition lived a very short life. Only 33 years. But he was very productive. Rukhin went headlong into his work. He had a well-established technology for the simultaneous “assembly” of several paintings. His friend Vladimir Nemukhin explained how to make the paintings to dry for the next stage. When dozens of paintings were ready, Rukhin hired a truck and drove them to Moscow for sale. As you can guess, foreign correspondents and diplomats were the main buyers (therefore the unofficial art was nicknamed “dip-art”). Needless to say, the intransigence of Rukhin and his commerce caused severe irritation on the part of the competent authorities. This is why there is still a popular belief that the fire in the artist's studio that killed the artist was set by a provocateur.
Rukhin's undeniable talent and his early tragic death made the artist a legend of unofficial post-war art. His work is a rarity on the auction market and always attracts the attention of collectors. The presented painting “Composition with baguette” was acquired in the early 1970s by the Brazilian diplomat, and later the Brazilian ambassador to the USSR, Sizinio Pontes Nogueira. All these years it was kept in the family, and in 2021 it was sold at auction.
NEMUKHIN Vladimir Nikolaevich (1925–2016) Super Elephant. 2008. Canvas, collage, acrylic. 84 × 64
Before us is one of the most sought-after subjects in the work of the sixties artist Vladimir Nemukhin. The artist repeated it many times, just as Warhol repeated cans of Campbell's soup and portraits of Marilyn Monroe. Nemukhin himself joked that an entire herd of super elephants would attend his funeral. However, this is a case where the artist cannot be reproached. Despite their serial nature, his super elephants are still rare and exclusive. In most cases, they are sold in a narrow circle of acquaintances and very rarely come to the open auction. So every super elephant at auction is an event and a chance for new collectors.
And today is just such a case: a large pictorial work is up for auction, very spectacular, and with expertise. For those who are seeing a super elephant for the first time, let us note some important points:
1) this is a rare Nemuhin work without cards;
2) the suprematist component relies on the impressionist image. The red circle is inspired not by Malevich, but by the setting sun in a painting by Klever, which Nemukhin saw on a visit;
3) the elephant stands in the water, which is confirmed by the reflection of his feet;
4) super elephant is one of the most counterfeit themes, so expertise is a must when buying.
KHARITONOV Alexander Vasilievich (1931–1993) September. 1971. Canvas on cardboard, oil. 17.5 × 22.5
The painting with a lonely saintly wayfarer walking across the September field was painted by Kharitonov in 1971 in his favorite village Purikha near Moscow. There is a note about this on the back of the canvas.
Kharitonov is a bright representative of the neo-symbolist wing in the unofficial post-war art. In a certain sense, he was an ethical follower of Nesterov and Roerich. At the same time he is absolutely unique. “Preacher of goodness”, as contemporaries called him, was a member of the Lianozovo group, was on friendly terms with Nemukhin and Rabin. With them, he took part in the historical exhibition in the “Beekeeping” pavilion in 1975.
BELENOK Petr Ivanovich (1938–1991) Child of Space. 1989. Hardboard, oil, collage, mixed media. 117.5 × 100
Panic realism from one of the most important representatives of post-war unofficial art. Petr Belenok died in 1991, at the turn of the century. The country was not up to paintings. And in such gloomy moments for the artist, the risk of “falling out of the ranks”, falling into the shadows is especially high. Fortunately, this did not happen to Belenok. On the contrary, a few years after his death, the importance of his art was revised. And today Belenok is considered to be one of the brightest innovators in nonconformist art.
RABIN Oscar Yakovlevich (1928–2018) Evening. 1983. Oil on canvas. 45.5 × 55
Nostalgic Rabin of the Parisian period. A memory of Lianozovo or Priluki. Only the date on the painting gives away that this is 1983 and that Rabin has been in Paris for five years. Because in terms of the level of painting and in terms of temperament, it looks more like the late 1960s. Rabin left largely against his will. After the Bulldozer exhibition, which he organized, the authorities tried to create conditions and push the artist into emigration. At the first opportunity, they stripped the artist of his Soviet citizenship and tried to erase him from the history of art. But that's not how it turned out. No one remembers the names of the “exclusionists” long ago, but Rabin emerged as one of the leaders of nonconformist art. His paintings are in the best museums of the world and the best private collections. “Evening” is good both in theme and color. It has the trademark Rabin’s accent in yellow, which connoisseurs and collectors love so much.
BUKH Aron Froimovich (1923–2006) Nu (Julia). 2000. Oil on canvas. 90 × 60
The sixties frantic expressionist Aron Bukh adored women. They were his passion and inspiration. People close to him recall that even in his old age he longed for his models. For him it was a holiday, an interesting day, he was shaking with anticipation of working with a model. Julia was among his favorites. A beauty of difficult fate, she was happy to come to Bukh for sessions. “Julia is coming today!” — the artist rejoiced. And no wonder that the paintings with nude models had a special energy. Furious, exuberant. Collectors and dealers knew it and were getting ready. After the sessions, Bukh's nude paintings were taken away from the studio still wet. They were in great demand.
Today, Buch's nudes are a rarity. They are exhibited much less frequently than landscapes. And prices for nudes can be ten times higher than for landscapes. It's a proven fact. So today is a great opportunity for collectors. The painting has excellent provenance, comes from the collection of a longtime friend and associate of the artist.
ZVEREV Anatoly Timofeevich (1931–1986) Forest (blue and green). 1984. Hardboard, oil. 53 × 29.5
Landscapes are one of the most sought after themes in Zverev's work. Before us is the “Forest” of 1984. This is a late period, but an unconditional creative success. Zverev worked with inspiration, as in his youth. Powders, mixtures of oil and other materials were used again. Pastose, powerful, emotional painting! Collection jewel.
KHAMDAMOV Rustam Usmanovich (1944) A young man with a ball. 2014. Oil on canvas. 70 × 100
Khamdamov is an artist, film director, screenwriter. He is one of the favorite artists of Luchino Visconti and Tonino Guerra. Triumph Award Winner. His paintings are represented in the collections of the Hermitage and the Tretyakov Gallery. The rebellious artist is known for the fact that, as a director, he worked on the film “Unexpected Joys” with Elena Solovey, scripted by Andrey Konchalovsky. However, at the artistic council it turned out that the young director deviated from the script, and the picture was stopped. Later, it was handed over to Nikita Mikhalkov, and he made the “Slave of Love”.
Hamdamov's painting is a rarity in the market. We are facing a subject “not for everyone”. But for Khamdamov, scenes with male nature are one of the main themes.
VOLIGAMSI Rinat (1968) Guest. 2002. Oil on canvas. 45 × 45
A man casts the shadow of a cat? What's so strange about it! This is the work of the maestro of modern absurdism, Rinat Voligamsi. His paintings are mind games, reflections of other worlds, scenes from other dimensions. His trademark technique is subtle aesthetics, postmodernist move and philosophical mystery. And the painting “Guest” is a brilliant embodiment of neo-Kharms ideas.
I would add that Volygamsi's work is one of the most striking phenomena of contemporary art in the 2000s. We believe that this artist should be included not only in conceptual, but also in investment collections.