KALININ Vyacheslav Vasilievich (1939) The Master and Margarita. Based on the 1975 drawing. Canvas, oil. 105 × 90

Vyacheslav Kalinin, “The Master and Margarita”. The story of one of the main artists of unofficial art about one of the main forbidden novels of the 20th century. A meter-long canvas of absolutely museum level.

Bulgakov's text that we know today is the third version of the novel, very different from the manuscript “Satan, or the Great Chancellor” and other versions destroyed by Bulgakov. It was edited and brought together by the writer's widow Elena Sergeevna Bulgakova (née Nuremberg) — the prototype of Margarita. It was she who saved and preserved the text until bright days. The novel was completed back in 1936. Already hunted, Bulgakov did not make a secret that he was writing a work about the devil. Therefore, there is evidence that the authorities tried to remove the text out of harm's way. For the first time, they decided to publish “The Master and Margarita” in 1966, with large censorship exceptions. The creeping “Counter-revolution” was covered by Konstantin Simonov. But the full text was published in the USSR only in 1973, that is, both times under Brezhnev. By that time, the illegal uncensored version had been published in France.

“Margarita” Elena Sergeevna is remembered as a spectacular woman, intelligent, courageous, selfless and not devoid of a sense of humor. One day Vladimir Lakshin, Tvardovsky's deputy at Novyi Mir, called her early in the morning and asked her to come to the publishing house urgently — there was an opportunity to print some of Bulgakov's things. He hung up, and fifteen minutes later, Elena Sergeevna showed up at his office — all makeup and fresh. He was dumbfounded: “How did you get to me so quickly?” And she calmly said: “On a broomstick.”

In the painting, Margarita is depicted on a swing, the plot is fantasy, in the novel there is no such scene directly. But the slanting eyes, the devil's light in the eyes, dashing — yes, she has it all.

Vyacheslav Kalinin is an artist of the Lianozovo circle. Since the early 1960s, he visited Kropivnitsky and Rabin, communicated with a circle of like-minded people. The first meeting with official art ended in a scandal. In 1962, after showing Kalinin's paintings on a commission at the Moscow Union of Artists, he was expelled from the Abramtsevo school. His first exhibition at the Kurchatov Institute in 1963 (physicists were allowed a little more) was closed on the second day. In general, the normal path of an independent artist in the USSR. The MOSKh commission, after all, saw through him in time — “a non-Soviet man.” Look what he painted?  Some bums, whore, a palisade of bottles. Where did he see so much of this? Everything is simple. This is a memory of the post-war hungry hooligan childhood in Zamoskvorechye. Academics and professors were hard to come by there. In 1975, Kalinin was one of the few participants in the exhibition of unofficial artists in the Beekeeping Pavilion at VDNKh. The queue to it stretched for hundreds of meters, people stood for four hours. At the time of the City Committee of Graphic Artists on Malaya Gruzinskaya, he exhibited as a member of the «Seven» — a group of innovative artists, which included Nemukhin, Krasnopevtsev, Vechtomov, Plavinsky, Kharitonov.

So, Bulgakov, Kalinin, The Master and Margarita, museum level, a masterpiece of unofficial art.

YAKOVLEV Vladimir Igorevich (1934–1998) Three white flowers in a vase. 1970s. Gouache on paper. 59 × 41

Yakovlev became an artist despite many circumstances. He was actually visually impaired. From his youth, he often lay in mental hospitals. He worked as a retoucher in a publishing house — correcting photographs. And then the 1957 festival! An event in the post-Stalinist Moscow. All countries came to visit us. And best practices from around the world. And art was there too — abstractionists, Tashists, everything that had been forbidden in the USSR for a long time. And Yakovlev began to paint. At one time he was helped by Sitnikov and other artists. But in fact he was self-taught — a genius intuitionist.

Gouaches with flowers are the most recognizable and most desirable subjects in Yakovlev's art. In the 1960s, they cost 15 rubles. In Soviet times, Yakovlev's flowers were a kind of “passwords” — signals “friend or foe” in Moscow apartments. They were bought by representatives of the scientific intelligentsia, doctors, and artists. Yakovlev's works have become symbols of unofficial art. And quite deservedly it is gouache with a flower that adorns the second cover of the milestone two-volume book “Another Art. Moscow 1956–1976”.




KABAKOV Ilya Iosifovich (1933) Album number 6 “Flying Komarov”. From the cycle “10 characters” 1994. Album with lithographs. 32 sheets. 51 × 35. Case size 52 × 36 × 4.5

First: Ilya Kabakov is the most expensive living Russian artist. His paintings more than once crossed the million mark at auctions. And the current record is $ 5.8 million for the painting “The Beetle”.

Second: Kabakov is a key figure in Moscow conceptualism, which is considered our main contribution to world art history in the second half of the twentieth century.

Finally, third: today Ilya Kabakov is the most famous contemporary Russian artist in the West. The innovator of “total installation”. In Russia, he also does not leave people indifferent. Some people appreciate and respect him for his perfect intellectual breakthrough. And others, as usual, hate him: they consider him a hypocrite, disgracing Russia with his installations with communal flats, toilets, and garbage. It's a typical story for us. Kabakov, of course, is also good: he never tires of pouring oil on the fire with his harsh remarks and tough interviews. But time will pass and everything will fall into place.

Before us today is a canonical thing. A circulated, but very famous album “Flying Komarov”. Subscription copy number 75. Circulation is 200, but try to find it. The album format used to be a very prominent part of conceptualist culture. An audience of only friendly people would gather in Kabakov's studio and flip through the worksheets in front of them. Then a discussion would begin. Secretly, conspiratorially. The price of free-thinking. This was the way it was. And those times seemed to have passed. However, the feeling that this culture will not return is no longer there.

VECHTOMOV Nikolay Evgenievich (1923–2007) Multimoon. 1993. Oil on hardboard. 40 × 50

An ideal painting by Vechtomov for the collection: with a ready-made examination by V. S. Silaev, bright, distinctive, with a valuable theme.

Nikolay Vechtomov is a Lianozovite, a member of the City Committee's Seven, a veteran, an innovator, from the ranks of the first names of unofficial art. His works are always among the hits of our auctions.

KRASNOPEVTSEV Dmitry Mikhailovich (1925–1995) Three drawings. A branch in a decanter with water and stones. Still Life with a jug on a stump. The scroll in the jug. 10 × 7 (in light, each). Size of each frame: 36.5 × 27.5

Dmitry Krasnopevtsev is one of the most sought-after artists today. And one of the most expensive. His paintings cost more than 1.5 million, and many collectors can no longer afford them. But graphics are still reasonably priced.

Here we are today: three inspirational drawings. Signed, but inexpensive. They are peculiar constructions — ideas for harmonic combinations. Some of these drawings later served as sketches for pictorial compositions.

Krasnopevtsev was collected by Richter, Kostaki and many others. In the early 1960s, he came up with very distinctive metaphysical still lifes that cannot be confused with any others. And it is not easy to explain the effect of them in words. When Sviatoslav Richter was asked what he liked about Krasnopevtsev, he craned his neck, tried to loosen his collar, blushed and finally blurted out: “I don't know... It's beautiful!” In fact, this is what happens when you know too much and it takes a long time to explain. Modest in palette, Krasnopevtsev's still lifes invariably strike with precisely found balance and harmony. In the seventies Krasnopevtsev exhibited with the city committee «Seven», was a participant in several historical exhibitions, including “Beekeeping”.

The drawings were verbally confirmed by Alexander Ushakov and Valery Silaev. Research work has been carried out, and in such cases we advise buyers to draw up a written opinion.