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.
André Lanskoy is the “count of abstractionism”, the founder of the direction of lyrical abstraction, one of the innovators of European abstract expressionism. He is indeed an aristocrat, a count by birth. He was born in St. Petersburg. His first lessons in painting were given to him by Alexandra Exter, the “Amazon of the Russian avant-garde”. In 1920, Lanskoy, together with the remnants of the White Guard, sailed to Constantinople, and from there he moved to Paris.
The appearance of such work in the Russian auction market is not news, but an event! An oil by Rabin, more than a meter in size, created in 1965, and moreover, from the exhibition at London Grosvenor Gallery. For connoisseurs of Rabin's art these three facts are eloquent confirmation of the highest level of the presented work.
The museum-scale canvas and rollicking painting with a Russian spirit is exactly the format that Shulzhenko's collectors especially appreciate. Others, however, hate him for this very reason, accusing him almost of Russophobia. Like an actor who plays a negative character, Shulzhenko is pestered for the heroes of his paintings — drunks and their rowdy girlfriends. However, for the artist, drunkards and marginals are not part of his surroundings, but an object of study.
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.
Evgeny Rukhin had a reputation not only as one of the most daring nonconformists, but also as one of the most commercially successful artists of “dip-art”. The young member of the Lianozovo group and participant of the Bulldozer exhibition lived a very short life. Only 33 years. Rukhin's undeniable talent and his early tragic death made the artist a legend of unofficial post-war art.
Among the striking effects of Krasnopevtsev's “Wrapped Bowl” is the change in brightness and tonality depending on the angle from which you look at it. If you look straight ahead, the composition seems a little darker, but if you move half a step, the colors become brighter. There may be a scientific explanation for this: the paint lies intricately within the textural structure of the hardboard and the light is reflected differently. But the effect is truly mystical.
“Cat with a Bird” is one of the most poignant subjects of Vladimir Yakovlev. In a cat catching a bird, the audience rightly saw a metaphor for the defenselessness of a living being in a harsh world, the cruelty of the confrontation between predator and victim. The subject in itself is philosophical and complex. And in the execution of the mentally ill artist, it acquired a special depth and drama.
Geometric Steinberg of the valuable Moscow pre-emigration period. 1970s. And one meter museum size. And the plot is a godsend for collectors. This is not the usual compositional “geometry”, but a suprematic concentrate. In the center — the planetary model, and in the left corner — a picture-in-picture. An experimental piece! Rarity!
Kasimov is an ancient town in the Ryazan region on the picturesque high bank of Oka. In those parts, in the village, Vasily Shulzhenko spent his childhood. It was there that he got his first glimpse of bizarre representatives of human fauna, which many years later turned into phantasmagoric characters in his paintings.