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.
Yury Annenkov is an artist of Russian avant-garde, an experimentalist, an innovator of portrait genre. Images of Trotsky, Meyerhold and Akhmatova, which first come to mind for many, belong to his hand. Annenkov is one of the most expensive Russian artists. In the auction ranking, he takes 19th place with a result of 6.3 million dollars for the “Portrait of Alexander Nikolaevich Tikhonov”, sold at Christie's in 2014.
Oleg Tselkov is an artist of life metaphors. His trademark face masks and biomorphic plastics are his toolkit for the visual expression of ideas. He invented this language in the late 1950s and used it until the end of his life.
One and a half meter Steinberg of amazing beauty and the highest museum level. This is a classic subject for one of the main representatives of the second avant-garde. The laconic language of Suprematism, a dialogue with Malevich, but at the same time a very special aestheticism. No wonder one of his first teachers was “Petrovich” — Boris Petrovich Sveshnikov.
The title of this painting by Ernst Neizvestny refers to the Latin saying “Per aspera ad astra” by the Roman stoic philosopher Seneca. It translates as “through hardships to the stars”, a metaphor for the relentless pursuit of victory in spite of all difficulties. But in Neizvestny's painting, the title should be taken not metaphorically, but literally. It is a painting about space, about the conquest of the unknown, a hymn to human courage.
While living in the Soviet Union, Ernst Neizvestny did not consider himself a dissident. He saw the harassment and insults from the political leadership as “local excesses” and a manifestation of the “uncultured” nomenklatura. But Neizvestny had had enough of the totalitarian system. And he knew the price of freedom in every sense. And that, in fact, was why he left.
Why did Nikolina Gora become such a place of power in Zverev's work? Oksana Aseeva had a dacha in this picturesque village near Moscow. She was a widow of the poet Nikolay Aseev, a friend of Mayakovsky. A woman of progressive views, she was the “muse of Russian futurism”. But today we often think of her as the muse of Anatoly Zverev. Zverev loved to visit Nikolina Gora, lived in pleasant company and worked with pleasure.
A one-meter canvas, a main theme and a ringing title: “Steel Soul”. An unquestionable museum level. Neizvestny is one of the main representatives of unofficial post-war art. A legend. “Steel Soul” belongs to the fertile period of Neizvestny's first years in exile, a period in which he was able to reproduce in material many of the ideas that were conceived in his homeland.
Andrei Grositsky's works are the hits of our auctions. The paintings of the metaphysician of the subject world are of growing interest to collectors. No wonder. Works of such a high level appear on the market that eyes widen. And here is another indisputable masterpiece. One of Grositsky's favorite subjects. He didn't just call them “Shovel” but “Portrait of a Shovel”. As if we speak not about an instrument but about an animate object covered with scars and wrinkles of labour.
Pacifying, contemplative, sybaritic, philosophical Nesterova. The sun is setting. The evening descends. A couple looks out from the veranda at a cozy Mediterranean town, whose houses are scattered along the mountainside. Grapes and chopped walnuts are on the table. Much has been accomplished, and how much good is yet to come.