It is believed that Sokolniki is the cradle and “domain” of Zverev. There he once went to classes at the local art studio. There he was noticed by the sister of actor and choreographer Alexander Rumnev, who became Zverev's mentor and patron for several years. It was at the painting of the pavilions in Sokolniki that Zverev's virtuoso brushwork was noticed by knowledgeable people. From there, his way to fame began.
Several major nonconformist artists have interpretations of the plot with a cat seizing a bird. Yakovlev has a cat with a bird in its teeth. Nemukhin has a cat with a card. Zverev has a similar subject. And here we have “Cat that ate a bird” by the main member of the Lianozovo group and the organizer of the Bulldozer exhibition, Oscar Rabin.
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.
Shulzhenko's paintings have a phenomenal effect in practice — they completely capture the attention of any viewer, even those who are not his fans. A visitor can enter a room where ten masterpieces are hanging, but in a minute the main argument will be about Shulzhenko's work. And so it is this time. In front of us is “Three Napoleons”. A picture-parable. Three ages of a man. Three stages of destiny of the tyrant.
Little Burliuk of incredible beauty! Roses against the background of the sea. This is from the American period, most likely the late 1940s. Burliuk is successful, enjoying a measured life, building a house on Long Island with his own gallery. He is praised by American critics. His works are bought. All is well, and the picture conveys that mood.
This tough psychological and mystical cycle by Mikhail Chemiakine is called “Angels of Death”. A series of watercolors of the same name was exhibited at the Hermitage in 1995. A powerful expressionist cycle: overcoming nightmares, desacralization of the world of shadows, photo-reportage from the depths the subconscious.
Before us is a great rarity. An example of a large, nervous painting by Vladimir Yakovlev. And one of his most important themes is the cat. There is a beautiful legend that Yakovlev once saw from the window of a psychiatric hospital how a cat caught a pigeon. He was shocked, imagining himself in the place of the unfortunate bird. But knowledgeable people say otherwise. The cat in Yakovlev's work was inspired by Picasso's “Cat Catching a Bird”. Dramatic philosophical subject: a metaphor of human destinies, a conversation about the predator and the victim, about the defenselessness of man in the face of circumstances.
This is the astounding story of how Vladimir Yakovlev, a retoucher for a publishing house, began to draw under the impression of exhibitions of foreign artists as part of the 1957 Youth Festival. And he quickly revealed himself as a phenomenal intuitive painter. In the 1970s, his gouaches became symbols of unofficial art. They were bought by representatives of the Soviet creative and scientific intelligentsia. Against the background of the dominance of propaganda art, the purchase of Yakovlev's works was certainly a form of intellectual resistance.
The history of this gouache can be traced back to 1969, when it was acquired by the American collector Arthur Odum. In the U.S., this piece participated in the exhibition «Russian Painting of the 1960s, «was published in a catalog in 1990. “The work under study belongs to a rare cycle of Yakovlev's works painted in pointillé. Such pieces from the late 1960s, executed at such a high level, are a great rarity... This is certainly a creative success of Vladimir Yakovlev... It is a monument to Moscow's unofficial art...” These are quotations from Valery Silaev's expertise.
Before us is Krasnopevtsev. Fabulous beauty. Rare in plot, infrequent in color, large and expensive. The authenticity has already been confirmed by the main expert in Dmitry Krasnopevtsev’s art, Alexander Ushakov. He also told us the exact name of this work: “Two shells and beads”. This is the most valuable period of the master of metaphysical still life. An indisputable masterpiece.