CHEMIAKINE Mikhail Mikhailovich (1943) Tushenosh (Butcher). 1987. Paper, pastel. 213 × 143
Tushenosh — a porter of cut carcasses — is a philosophical metaphorical image in Chemiakine's work. For the artist, it was an opportunity to show the symbolic neighborhood of life and death, a reflection on the vanity of vanities and, of course, an expression of the aesthetic rapture received in The Belly of Paris. The “stomach”, or “belly of Paris”, the writer Émile Zola called the food market Les Halles — the epitome of a bustling commercial life and its attendant vices. In the early 1970s, the authorities were about to close the market. And Chemiakine spent days and nights there to capture in memory and in photos the receding nature. In 1977 he made a cycle of lithographs “The Belly of Paris”. This work brought him fame in Europe. And his friend Vladimir Vysotsky, delighted by the images of the Chemiakine’s butcher-porters, dedicated to them a poem “Tushenoshes”.
Eyeless, headless, and voiceless.
And there seems to be no essence in the carcass-porters,
As if by rollers they are crushed into the essence of the picture.
So who are you, ruined souls?
Where are you in a hurry, half-plug-uglies?
You cannot be separated — both masses are united.
Chemiakine has a long history with carcasses. Back in Leningrad in the 1960s, he hung them up in his studio to paint from life. There is a famous photograph of Chemiakine with a carcass, where Konstantin Kuzminsky and Oleg Okhapkin are posing.
Today Mikhail Chemiakine is one of the most famous Russian artists in the world. In the Soviet Union he was considered a “dauber”, kicked out of the institute, forbidden to exhibit, subjected to punitive psychiatric measures and essentially banned from his profession. Chemiakine was forced to work as a handyman, a rigger, a letter carrier — anything, otherwise the article for parasitism. At one time the artist worked as a loader in the Hermitage. In 1964, together with his friends Oleg Lyagachev and Vladimir Ovchinnikov, he decided to take part in the “Exhibition of Artists — Employees of the Hermitage Maintenance Department. Towards the Hermitage's 200th Anniversary”. How did it end? The exhibition lasted one day. It was closed with a scandal, and the director of the Hermitage was removed from his post. A normal story about art during the Soviet era. In 1971, Chemiakine managed to leave with his family to France. In pursuit, according to the “good” tradition, the artist was deprived of Soviet citizenship.
In the eighties, Mikhail Chemiakine moved to the United States. This is where this pastel probably appeared. For a long time, the work was in the collection of the scandalous financier Giancarlo Parretti.
NEMUKHIN Vladimir Nikolaevich (1925–2016) The game is over. 1983. Oil on canvas, collage. 71 × 79
The work with strong philosophical overtones is a remake of Nemukhin's important 1974 painting, which was called “The Game is Over — Darkness and Emptiness Ahead”. Where does this mood come from? One can guess. 1974 was the year of upheaval in Nemukhin's life. Ahead was the bulldozer exhibition. Artists were preparing for a confrontation with the authorities, the outcome of which was unknown to them. In fact, they thought that everyone will be jailed or deported. Here's how Vladimir Nemukhin described that moment: “Conceiving an open letter, Oskar honestly warned: "Volodka, you know what this threatens, don't you? Five years in jail and three years in exile, or three years in jail and five years in exile". Well, what can I do, I agreed. So, let it seldom be mentioned now, but instead of an exhibition in the open air, the first idea was just to write a letter to the public and give it to foreign journalists. The exhibition was out of the question then.
While they were deciding how best to deal with this letter, I left for the village. I warned Oskar: "When you decide, give me a telegram, and I'll come back and sign it". And then a telegram comes — come. As I saw it, frankly speaking, it was scary. My daughter is small. They would imprison me for nothing. So I came back to Moscow with a heavy heart. And when I arrived — it turns out that the letters are no longer needed, Oscar came up with the idea of doing an exhibition in the open air”.
Our “Game Over” is a 1983 version. According to the expert Valery Silaev, it has museum value.
KIKOÏNE Michel (1892–1968) Still life with sunflowers. Second third of the XX century. Canvas, oil. 92 × 73
Michel Kikoïne is an artist of the Paris School, the circle of Chaim Soutine and Modigliani. He met Soutine and Pinkhus Kremen back in Minsk, where they studied together. Kikoïne left for France in 1912 and worked in the famous “La Ruche” in Montparnasse. In 1924, Kikoïne's works were shown in the USSR at an imported exhibition of French artists. But the real circle of his connoisseurs in Russia began to form only after the fall of the Iron Curtain, against the background of growing interest in Russian abroad.
1960s UNOFFICIAL ART
YURLOV Valery Ivanovich (1932) Reclining nude. 1959–1960. Hardboard, oil. 49 × 70
At first it seems that we have an abstraction in front of us. This is what you expect, because Valery Yurlov is considered one of the main non-object artists of unofficial art, the author of the concept of a pair of forms. But if you look closely, avert your eyes, — well, of course, lying naked.
The work is not much seen. It came from a private collection, where it had been for almost half a century. For collectors, this is a real piece of luck.
SVESHNIKOV Boris Petrovich (1927–1998) Oblivion. 1993. Oil on canvas. 56 × 32
Ideal for those who need a quiet Sveshnikov for an already large established collection. The painting is of medium size — it won't be hard to find a place for it. For experienced collectors, the latter is of no small importance. And, finally, a thing that is very lenient in terms of optics — without devils and tombstones.
KRASNOPEVTSEV Dmitry Mikhailovich (1925–1995) Still life with a blue vase. 1960. Oil on hardboard. 47 × 40.5
1960 is a milestone year in the work of Krasnopevtsev, the beginning of a particularly valuable period. This still life is transitional. Charming, bright, concise.
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