1960s UNOFFICIAL ART
SITNIKOV Vasily Yakovlevich (1915–1987) Beauty (Danaë). 1985. Oil on canvas. 85 × 181
Vasily Yaklich, or Vasya the Lanternman, as he was called by those who were on a short footing with him, is a legend of unofficial art. Seemingly a simple sitter and operator of diapositive display at the Surikov Institute, Vasily Sitnikov was a very influential figure in the world of unofficial art. Dozens of students passed through the Sitnikov Academy. It is known that it was Vasily Sitnikov who gave the first lessons to the young Vladimir Yakovlev. Sitnikov had a reputation as a virtuoso artist. He was an intuitionist, he himself invented new techniques. In a fit of inspiration or as a bravado, he could take a shoe brush or a floor brush and use it as a painting brush to paint a spectacular thing.
“Beauty” is one of Sitnikov's largest and most expressive works among those published. It has an interesting story. In 1971 Sitnikov painted “Danaë”, as often happened, with his student. In that painting, he rather explained the technical methods. Therefore, according to contemporaries, he did not like that work. And in 1985 he made his own independent piece “Beauty” (more precisely, “Krasavisa”). Sitnikov's friends out of habit called it “Danaë–2”, because they did not see the turnover, on which the artist left the original title. Vasil Yaklich worked hard on the “Beauty”: thoroughly worked on the background, the figure, painted the area of motley grass. The work turned out to be of an absolutely museum standard — large-scale, almost two meters long, multi-faceted, devoid of any simplifications. This is probably the most significant Sitnikov's work appearing at auction in the past five years.
BELENOK Petr Ivanovich (1938–1991) The last chance of the millennium. 1991. Hardboard, mixed media. 120 × 121
An important philosophical piece is Belenok's large-scale work of the last year of his life. On the back there is the title “The last chance of the millennium”. But the mise-en-scène suggests that the author was thinking about the finale of the novel “The Master and Margarita”. To be more precise, not even about the finale, where Margarita takes Azazello's poison and finds peace. But about what happened next. The image of a woman looking at a distant land from “interspace” is a beautiful metaphor for eternal peace. When there is nothing else to fear. And even black structures growing out of nowhere are no longer perceived as a threat. In general, this work can be perceived as the final scene in the program of “panic realism” brought to its limit. An unquestionable museum level!
PURYGIN Leonid Anatolyevich (1951–1995) Removal of the penis. 1992. Oil on canvas, mixed media. 40.5 × 30.5
A dashing title to match the subject. The artist, as if on purpose, made them in defiance of commercial calculations. And this nonconformism is an integral part of Purygin’s essence. He did not adapt, did not choose words, did not “smooth” the primitive imagery bestowed upon him. It would seem that with such an approach, the artist is doomed to remain an unknown outsider.
But everything turned out exactly the opposite. Self-taught, “a person with a certificate”, is in the top 100 most expensive artists of the post-war unofficial art. His paintings are worth tens of thousands of dollars, and some are capable of storming the $ 100,000 bar.
Purygin is a man of complicated fate. There was a suicide attempt and mental hospitalization. Art brought peace to his soul. Although all of Purygin's “universities” were just a drawing circle in the House of Culture of Naro-Fominsk. Purygin was 37 years old when his works were included in the catalog of the first and only Sotheby's auction in Moscow. After the historical auction the artist woke up famous and a few months later went to America to work under the contract with an American gallery. Today's work just refers to the American period. He had to get used to other colors and other materials. But the subjects remained the same. The same Pipa and other phantasmagoric characters visited Purygin's fantasy worlds. Purygin's American period lasted about five years. He returned to Moscow, took to drink again, and died of a heart attack in 1995.
For all the discomfort of Purygin's “naïve”, brave collectors are on a real hunt for his paintings. They remain a great rarity on the Moscow auction market, and their every appearance is a great fortune for everyone.
The authenticity of the work is confirmed by the expert opinion of Valery Silaev.
KRASNOPEVTSEV Dmitry Mikhailovich (1925–1995) Dry fish on a wire. 1959. Oil on cardboard. 35 × 21.5
A master of metaphysical still life, Krasnopevtsev today remains one of the most expensive and sought-after artists of the unofficial art scene. His auction record was set in 2006 and at that time was almost a million dollars.
“Dry fish on a wire” is a work from a milestone period. At this time, Krasnopevtsev is on the threshold of transition from his trademark polychrome laconicism to monochrome laconicism. Green and purple. The shadow cast by the fish. Two years later, all of this will completely disappear from Krasnopevtsev's works. Meanwhile the artist enjoys not only the form but also the harmony of coloristic relations.
The authenticity of the painting is confirmed by Valery Silaev's paper.
NEMUKHIN Vladimir Nikolaevich (1925–2016) Guitar-palette. 1999. Canvas, acrylic, collage. 80 × 80
A complex multi-faceted piece. In addition to the usual cards, the artist used glued veneer for the collage and the 1998 newspaper “Culture” with a fully readable article entitled “Nemukhin 's Monologues: the Lianozovo Suffering”.
The painting “Guitar-palette” is a memorial to George Costakis. His image is present both explicitly (in the photograph in the newspaper) and metaphorically. His favourite guitar and, don't be surprised, his palette is responsible for the latter. After all, Costakis, like many people with a creative disposition, himself tried to take up a brush. Three elements of the Nemukhin mystery are readily apparent. But there is also the fourth. The deconstruction of the guitar and its decomposition in space is a reference to the methods of the first Russian avant-garde. In particular, the works of Popova and Rozanova. It was Costakis who became the savior of the Russian avant-garde, contributed to the world fame of this trend and saved a lot of works that were later taken out for museum circulation. That first avant-garde, on the majestic ruins of which the second avant-garde appeared.
In short, we have before us an important painting about a brave man and his mission.
TSELKOV Oleg Nikolaevich (1934–2021) Vase (large). 2009. Porcelain, overglaze painting. 44 × 30
The vases, like the sets of figurines by Oleg Tselkov, are among the most expensive items in the segment of porcelain by artists of the sixties. Their prices exceed one million rubles. The vases are made in small numbers, only 25 copies. They are large, massive objects — almost half a meter high. On the outside — overglaze painting with Tselkov 's “mugs” of the 1960s. The vase is published in the catalogue “Porcelain of the sixties”.
“Mugs-muzzles-masks” are a mainstream subject in Tselkov's work. They appeared in improvisational mode, to a certain extent by accident. But once he looked at them, Tselkov realized that he had invented a unique artistic language of biomorphic description of reality. Creative independence of the artist did not go unpunished. Exhibitions began to be closed, Tselkov was excluded from the Union of Artists, and in 1977 it was made clear that he had nothing to do in the USSR. Today Oleg Tselkov is among the most famous and expensive artists of the post-war nonconformism orbit.