1960s UNOFFICIAL ART
SVESHNIKOV Boris Petrovich (1927–1998) Evening shadow. 1975. Oil on canvas. 80 × 59
A masterpiece by the acknowledged master of Kafkaesque romance. The most valuable period. 1975. Large size. The highest degree of elaboration. Absolutely museum level.
Looking at this soft, sublime painting, it is difficult to suggest that painting for Sveshnikov in the late 1940s — early 1950s was a way of preserving sanity in the harsh conditions of the camp. The young artist, tormented by hunger and illness, imagined and painted imaginary worlds. In the evenings in the barracks, after hard work, ladies and gentlemen would begin to twirl on sheets of paper. And their gallant pas was watched by the death-girlfriend.
“Evening shadow” is good luck for those collectors who are still confused by the presence of infernal characters in Sveshnikov's paintings. There is no devilry in this painting. This is pure atmospheric decorative romance. Extraordinary beauty. And an extraordinary rarity.
ZVEREV Anatoly Timofeevich (1931–1986) A flower in a pot on a stool. 1959. Paper, charcoal pencil, tempera, oil. 58 × 41
Zverev 1959 from the collection of his patron, the legendary George Costakis. At one time there were almost no such works left in Russia. Everything was taken out. Only in recent years have the drawings of this period, now and then, returned from foreign collections. Expressive Tashiste graphics of museum level. And rare for Zverev subject — a flower in a pot. A real find for collectors! The work is accompanied by the expertise of Valery Silaev.
SOBOLEV-NOLEV Yuri Alexandrovich (1928–2002) Fantastic composition on a yellow background. 1989. Paper, ink, gouache. 69.8 × 49.8
Yuri Sobolev-Nolev is one of the key figures of the Sretensky Group, a friend and associate of Ülo Sooster, Ilya Kabakov, Vladimir Yankilevsky, Viktor Pivovarov, Ernst Neizvestny. Together with Sooster, Yankilevsky and Neizvestny he was a participant of the Manege exhibition in 1962. The exhibition that became the focus of Khrushchev's contemporary art ragging and marked the beginning of a period of dramatic cooling in the cultural sphere. Intellectual Sobolev-Nolev was the chief artist of the magazine “Knowledge is Power”. He shaped the design agenda and attracted his friends, artists from the orbit of unofficial art, to work with him. In those days, science illustration, like drawings for science fiction books, was an outlet for those who did not want to engage in social realism through force. In science and science fiction you couldn't get a handle on ideology and folksiness. Even Ülo Sooster said that neither Khrushchev nor Furtseva were in science fiction worlds, “so I will draw as I want!”
Sobolev was not only a creator of amazing fantasy worlds, but also a progressive “technologist” and innovator of modern visual art. He followed all the innovations, which were introduced in the western press, searched for new forms of art, which today would be called multimedia — he mixed animation, graphics, sound, multi-screen. In his original graphics Sobolev-Nolev at some point began to apply the grid, the logic of which was inherited from polygraphic layouts. He was also one of the first to make art “interventions”, when the characters of classical art were moved into a modern sci-fi environment. Today in front of us is a sample of very recognizable Sobolev-Nolev’s graphic art — his favorite fantasy abstraction. And it is rare. This can be judged by the fact that at our auction this artist is presented for the first time.
STEINBERG Eduard Arkadievich (1937–2012) Plateau. 2008. Porcelain. 41.5 × 40
First time at auction! Steinberg plates — rarely, but sold. But a porcelain plateau like this — never before. The thing of fabulous beauty. And the circulation is modest — only 25 copies. The certificate, signature — everything as it should be. Excellent collectible variant for discerning people. Eduard Steinberg was an artist of the Sretensky Boulevard Group, which included Kabakov, Bulatov, Sooster, Yankilevsky. He was taught to draw by Boris Sveshnikov, who had just returned from the camp and was visiting his saviour Arkady Steinberg in Tarusa. In about 10 years, Eduard Steinberg would become a major figure in unofficial art. He took part in an exhibition at the Druzhba House in 1967 and in an exhibition at the Beekeeping Pavilion in 1975. Steinberg became the creator of his own style of geometric abstraction at the junction of neo-premitivism. A recognizable, vivid artist.
BORISOV Sergey Alexandrovich (1947) Taking the initiative. 1987. Photograph. 44.5 × 60.5
Sergey Borisov became famous as a chronicler of the underground culture of the 1980s. The heroes of his works were rock musicians, informals, and underground artists. He filmed Aguzarova, Tsoi, Mamonov and others. During the time of the city committee of graphic artists on Malaya Gruzinskaya, Borisov became a member of the photographic section and, along with others, made a large series of portraits of artists, including Steinberg, Zverev, Kabakov and others.
“Taking the initiative” is a photograph-manifesto. The context of the time has to be taken into account here. The year of 1989. Soviet power is bursting at the seams. The law on cooperation was already adopted, and soon the dashing nineties would begin. The new is rushing forward. The old, dogmatic and hypocritical, still grabs it by the clothes. But nothing can be changed. The time of the young and bold is coming.
Sergey Borisov's photographic works have long been part of the ranks of the world's leading auction houses, including Sotheby's, Phillips and Dorotheum. The auction record for the artist's work was set in 2007, when the photograph “Dialogue” was sold at Sotheby's for almost $ 12,000.
EARLY XX CENTURY CLASSICS
VOLOSHIN Maximilian Alexandrovich (1877–1932) Blue Mountains. 1928. Lead pencil, watercolor on paper. 9 × 19.7
The classic, very recognizable Cimmerian landscape by Maximilian Voloshin. Probably it was not painted from nature, like many others, but was invented in the quietness of the study in the Crimean house. The modest size is not the economy of paper, but the position of principle. Voloshin was one of the first to proclaim the time of graphics not for the palaces, but for the common people. And this means the drawings should be compact and comfortable for modest interiors.
Voloshin was a very outstanding personality. A freemason who fought in a duel with Gumilyov, he gained fame primarily as a poet. But after a boycott by book publishers (he was publicly condemned for “insulting Repin”), who refused to publish his poems, Voloshin took up his brush. And, as befits a talented person, in this matter he not only succeeded, but became the founder of the so-called Cimmerian school of painting. The authenticity of the watercolor “Blue Mountains” is confirmed by the conclusion of the expert Valery Silaev.