This particular painting was among the first batch of specially selected works, which was taken out by the English art dealer Eric Estorick to arrange the first personal exhibition of Oscar Rabin in London at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1965. Andropov reported to the CPSU Central Committee about the sale of these paintings. And it was with these paintings that Rabin ran into serious trouble in the Soviet Union.
Before us is one of the most significant works by Nemukhin ever sold at world auctions. And even more so in Russia. Undoubted masterpiece. Expert Valery Silaev considers it among the best of those that he had to attribute. By the way, long ago in 2006, a similar work of the same time, size and theme was sold at Sotheby's for $ 240,000 and set an auction record for the artist's work, which has not been beaten up to this day.
Yuri Kuper came to sfumato, a painterly technique of depicting air invented by Leonardo, while in exile, where he left in 1972. In the Soviet Union, he was more of a follower of surrealism. But one day his photographer friend John Stuart told him, “Look, you're a fine artist, but you're doing some nonsense. Why don't you just paint reality? Those objects around you”. And from about this point we can count the era of the new Kuper.
“The Moon with Letters” is an uncommon, conceptual subject in the work of the sixties artist Vladimir Nemukhin. We are used to card tables and jacks. And here the moon, and also strange syllables. We can assume that this is a dialogue with Velimir Khlebnikov, a reference to the poetry of the Russian avant-garde.
Alexander Kharitonov was aptly nicknamed “the preacher of good”. Not without a hint of a religious fondness. And so it is. Not only in narrative, but at the level of aesthetics Kharitonov drew on religious styles, especially Byzantine mosaics. He was also inspired by beadwork on church vestments. So his “pointillism” is not the divisionism of Paul Signac, but mosaics, beads and pearls in painting techniques.
Vladimir Yakovlev is not the most expensive artist of the 1960s. There are much more expensive ones. But he is a phenomenon. “An alien in human form”, as his friend, the artist Valentin Vorobyov, said. What happened to him was a triumph of a higher destiny. Nothing had foretold it. His eyes had been hurting since childhood. He never graduated from high school. Employment as a retoucher in the publishing house “Art”. But then came the Thaw. 1957. The festival. Visiting exhibitions with Vasiliy Sitnikov. And a sudden emotional breakthrough: “I want to be an artist!”
The inventor of the sfumato technique is considered to be the great Leonardo da Vinci. He figured out how to give an image a subtle blur, and learned how to reach a state “on the edge” — when the texture just begins to dissolve in the air and a haze appears. It is this technique that partly explains the mystery of Mona Lisa's smile. Sfumato sets the mood for many of the works of the 1960s artist Yuri Kuper. Even the word itself is associated with his name today. And the very old technique in his hands has received a new development.
Evgeny Rukhin is a legend of nonconformism. He is one of those uncomfortable and brave “rioters”, whom the authorities did not like very much. They preferred to be feared and kept their heads down. But Rukhin demanded, defended, disagreed. And he was not afraid. He fought for the right to work freely, developed a boisterous unofficial activity in Leningrad and became a real bone in the throat with the authorities. This is why so many refuse to consider his death in a fire in his studio in 1976 as an accident.
What do we remember about Krasnopevtsev? This is a special artist — an artist outside the era. According to his quiet philosophical still lifes, no historian can determine that outside is the USSR, the time of “developed socialism”, all around are propaganda slogans and hypocritical films calling for the fight. And you will never think that the author of these inspired paintings works in the Soviet “Reklamfilm”, while he himself dreams of France, is friends with Svyatoslav Richter and George Kostaki and creates works that collectors will hunt for in 50 years.
Two meters of aesthetic pleasure. It would seem that everything is clear: columns and columns. But in fact — a big philosophical topic. This is a conversation about feminine sophistication and girlish harmony. And, of course, about the beauty of ancient architectural orders, one of which was inspired by the grave of an unnamed poor young woman.