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02-07-2001 | Great talent and unhappy life

The nineteenth century presented us with many gifted artists recognized both in our country and abroad. Their biographies are thoroughly studied, their works are a pride of best museums of the world. In the collection of "New Hermitage-1" you can see the works of famous masters too, but our museum differs from many others just in its striving to present little-known names for connoisseurs of art.

One of such names is Arseny Nikolayevich Shurygin who lived only thirty-two years and left quite a small number of his creations. His contemporary, famous landscapist Fyodor Alexandrovich Vasilyev, died when he was a little bit more than twenty, but he won fame at his life-time. A lot of his pictures allowing us to appreciate his really bright talent have remained. This parallel is drawn purpusely, it demonstrates how different were the lives of these two painters, each of them deserving a long, creative life and recognition.

Both artists grew up in poor families. Fyodor Vasilyev, when a boy, after a short period of work at the post-office, entered the Drawing school of the Society for Encouraging Arts. For Arseny Shurygin there was no possibility to study his favourite art. Financial problems of his family forced him after finishing the Tver grammar school to go to work to the province government. And only when he was twenty-three, he, despite all the difficulties, made up his mind to realize his cherished dream to receive professional art education. He went to St. Petersburg where met V.M.Maksimov, the founder of Artel of artists, who introduced Vasilyev in the circle of his friends. Vasilyev visited the Artel's "Thursdays" (its members were future members of the Society of Itinerant Art Exhibitions). He was invited here by Shishkin helping him by advice and comments. There he met Repin and Karmskoi, with whom later they became real friends. The young man, full of energy, youthful enthsiasm and thirst for life, attracted the attention of contemporaries even by his early works. Outstanding artist and art critic I.N.Kramskoi has given a neat characteristic to Vasilyev's works: "He is bound to introduce into the Russian landscape art what it has been lacking all the time: poetry combined with natural fulfilment".

And what do contemporaries write about Shurygin? "In autumn ... arrived A.N.Shurygin, an educated, talented man, he worked in water colours quite well, but his drawings were rather weak" (Maksimov). The young talent needed to study, but he could not afford either study or even drawing. The Artel members provided full support to Shurygin, thereby enabling him to attend classes at the Academy of Fine Arts. Here, surrounded by persons sharing his ideas and views and friends, he was given a chance for fruitful work. At the same time he began cooperation with satirical magazines.

Soon the artist's happiness was brought to an end. In 1866 the Artel ceased its existence. In these difficult times he continued painting, but a lot of his works were lost. He was full of intentions and darings but he failed to put them into life.

In the collection of "New Hermitage-1" there is a remarkable Shurygin's work - "The Family Scene" (1867 (?), oil on canvas, 22,7 x 26,9 cm). The work belongs to those products by the artist where the traces of P.Fedotov's * influence are most apparent. The picture is noble in its paints, the composition is deeply thought out. Carefully and precisely the artist depicts the details serving to convey his main idea.

Producing a three-figured composition, Shurygin created life-like images, natural postures and gestures. In the foreground you can see an aunt and her nephew. The figure and the expression of the aged woman reveal the tension and vigilance she feels. She listens distrustfully to the speeches of the the young dandy, expecting to hear one more request. In the backgound of the picture there is a girl kept by the family. She sits near a piano putting her head on the arms in thoughtfulness. She is not interested in the subject of the conversation between the two relatives. However, she is interested in the good-looking officer for whom she has pinned up her hair to show her swan-neck, has put on the dress emphasizing the attractiveness of her arms and shoulders. The nephew stands a little bit bent forward, so that the aunt could hear him. The whole posture speaks about his meekness and respect for the elderly woman. But he hurried here not to have pleasing to God conversations with the old woman. He has put on a full-dress coat, polished his boots and buttons on the costume, curled the moustache for the young woman sitting overthere, behind, with a blank look. The artist has managed without resorting to grotesque to create vivid satirical characters.

Surygin's works betray a master of true to life description. He depicts only what he sees, but he knows how to see the essence, to pick out the main things. His products are based on ordinary facts converted by the master's brushwork into a generalized image of a symbolical nature.

"Oh, what a wonderful artist he could have been if not for his unlucky fate", - wrote V.M.Maksimov about Shurygin. Nowadays, a part of his output is kept in the Tretyakov Gallery, his creations are highly estimated by experts. He never became "a wonderful artist", he became a most talented master of genre painting.

* Fedotov was the first to formulate the program of critical realism, was the founding father of genre painting. In his works he resorted to satire, exposing morals and manners.

29-05-2001 | Exhibition "A.P.Chekhov and the town of Voskresensk" in "New Jerusalem"

On June 10 in Historical and Archtectural museum "New Jerusalem" opens exhibition "A.P.Chekhov and the town of Voskresensk". In its three halls documents, subjects of household activities, furniture, diagrams, materails for the Voskresensk hospital, personal things of the Chekhovs provided by museum-manor "Melikhovo" will be on display.

Almost all A.P.Chekhov`s early stories can be related to the realities of life in Voskresensk of the 1880s. While in the town he visits the chamber of the Justice of the Peace, works in the local hospital, associates with monks of the Voskresensk monastery, teachers, officials, noble families of modest means. Consulting local historians, Chekhov starts working here at his thesis "The History of Medical Practice in Russia".

Alongside with this exhibition there will be demonsrated a collection of paintings and graphic works of the 20th century in the Exhibition building of "New Jerusalem". Its formation began as long ago as in 1977 as a collection of products by artists of informal Soviet art of the 20s-30s as well as those of masters working in the 60s-90s with informal themes.

The art of gifted artists of the 30s which has left the arena of public life because of repressions by the totalitarian regime, nowadays "opens" anew due to such collections. The exhibition in "New Jerusalem" includes marvelous in their picturesque execution products by A.Volkov, lyrical landscapes by A.Sofronov, L.Solovyov, I.Dmitriev. Pictures by Ye. Bugrova, P.Kraits, A.Pomansky and other painters will become pleasant surprises for many art-lovers.

The period of the 70s-90s is introduced by oriental landscapes by the brothers Volkov and Ye.Kravchenko, romantic products by I.Kupriyashin. These works are the result of comprehension of art traditions inherent in the 30s multiplied by the masters` individuality.

14-05-2001 | Exhibition of townscapes "... oh, my town, you are so elusive... " opened in "The New Hermitage"

On April 27 in the halls of museum-gallery "The New Hermitage" the exhibition of townlandscapes "... oh, my town, you are so elusive..." opened. Adlivankin, Alfeevsky, Kravchenko, Konchalovsky, Midler, Nedbailo, Osmyorkin, Perutsky, Polyatsky, Rozhdestvensky, Rodionov, Udaltsova, Shterenberg, Khazanov and others...

The exhibition displays avant-guarde from the most aristocratic and refined art of "The World of Art"`s members and up to radical and rebelling avant-guarde of members of the Association of Artists of the Revolution, the Society of Young Artists and the "Circle". It is remarkable that all the advant-guarde works are so lyrical and romantic, that you cannot but wonder if all disputes and scores have been left behind. Apparently that wars of art ideas, lots of mutual recriminations which were often absurd and foolish, dramatic controversies fade away when the dearest and eternal things are touched upon: the town and the earth where an artist was born and grown up. And it is absolutely unimportant whether it is Russia or France, the main thing is the spirit a painter has absorbed and expressed in his products.

The elusiveness of a town like the elusiveness of a sole is perceived in the play of misty, blinking and sometimes almost agressively intense painting of D.P.Shterenberg and P.P.Konchalovsky.

D.P.Shterenberg studied in Paris (1906-12) at the Fine Arts School and Vitti`s Academy under A.Marten, K.Van Dongen and E. Anglada. Participant of exhibitions from 1909 ("The Autumnal Salon", "The Salon of Independent Artists", etc.). In 1917 participated in an exhibition with H.Matisse, A.Ozanfan and M.Utrillo in Paris. From 1917 lived in Russia. Commissar on arts (1917-1918), head of the Department of Fine Arts of the People`s Commissariat of Public Education (1918-20). In 1922 - participant of "The Exhibitions of the Three" (together with N.Altman and M.Chagal) in Berlin. Founder and teacher of the Society of Easel Artists (1925-30). Taught at the Moscow Higher Art and Technical Workshops/ Institute (1920-1930).

P.P.Konchalovsky (1876-1956) - painter, theatre designer. Studied at M.Raevskaya-Ivanova`s studio in Kharkov, at the Stroganov Industrial Art School in Moscow (from 1889), the Academie Julian (1896-98) in Paris under P.Lorence and J.-J.Benjamine-Constante, at the Academy of Arts (1898-1907) under P.Tvorozhnikov, V.Savinsky, P.Kovalevsky. Lived in Moscow. One of the founders and chairman of association "The Jack of Diamonds" (1910).

The elusiveness of a town, as elusiveness of time is perceived in solemn and mighty colouristic chords of A.A.Osmyorkin and A.A.Turzhansky.

L.V.Osmyorkin (1892-1953) studied at the Kiev art school (1909-1911), I.Mashkov`s studio in Moscow (1912 - 1913). From 1913 - participant of exhibitions. Member of associations "The Jack of Diamonds" (1913), "The World of Art" (1916), the Association of Artists of the Revolution" (1928), "The Moscow Painters" (1925), "The Being" (1926). Taught at the Higher Art and Technical Workshops/Institute. L.V.Turzhansky (1875 - 1945) - studied at the Baron Stieglitz Central School for Technical Draftsmanship in St. Petersburg (from 1895), at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1898-1907) under A.S.Stepanov, K.A.Korovin, V.A.Serov.Participant of exhibitions of the Union of Russian Artists, of the Society of Itinerant Art Exhibitions, of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia, the Society of Realist Artists, of the International Exhibition of 1911.

The elusiveness of a town as the elusiveness of life is a magnificence of at one moment stern and at the other moment lyrical inflorescences of A.I.Kravchenko and Ye.V.Nagayevskaya.

A.I.Kravchenko from 1904 to 1911 studied at the Moscow School of Painting,Scupture and Architecture under V.Serov, A.Vasnetsov, A.Archipov, K.Korovin, in Munich at Sz.Hollosy`s studio (1905). One of the leading masters of wood engraving . From the beginning of the 1910s produced paintings. Participant of exhibitions of "The Moscow Association of Artists", "The Union of Russian Artists", "The World of Art ".

Ye.V.Nagayevskaya (1900 - 1990) studied at the Central Asian University in Tashkent (1920-24), at the school of cloth-painting (1927), took lessons of painting from N.Udaltsova and A.Lentulov. In 1930 met A.Kuprin and was his good friend up to his last day. In 1949 graduated from the art criticism department of the Moscow University. Published monographies about sculptors O.Manuilova, I.Chaikov and others.

Feeling the elusiveness of the town, many artists, introduced at the exhibition, could exclaim: '... I like this fiery perpetuity, this going far away chain of scenes, in whose round windows the blue, green and orange flame is raging and streaming. I like the bright and fast trembling of constantly changing iridescent light, the play of light and shade, the clean scent of paints, the bitter taste of the motherland and the bitter taste of confession.

The exhibition is open to June 27, 2001.

21-04-2001 | Portrait gallery of "New Hermitage-1"

Russian portraiture is a peculiar phenomenon. The art of the first half of the 19th century, "the epoch of romanticism", separated from us by almost two centuries, continues to remain unique and charming, and the portrait painting of the past century being impressive in the diversity of stylistic searches and contradictions, excites a lot of public interest.

The portrait gallery of "New Hermitage-1" is presented by a remarkable pleiad of Russian artists working at different times but devoted to the same genre - "portrait", as the products of this theme mirror a particular state of one`s sole and are a peculiar appeal for offspring. Something joyful and light is inherent in the art of "portraiture".

Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky (1839 - 1915) is a portrait, genre and history painter. He spent his childhood in the family having diverse spiritual interests, contacting outstanding people surrounding his father, a prominent cultural figure, one of the founders of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. K.Ye.Makovsky studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1851-1857 under M.I.Scotti, S.K.Zaryanko together with V.P.Petrov, V.A.Pukirev, I.I.Shishkin, A.K.Savrasov. In 1858 he entered the Academy of Fine Arts and in 1862 received a Small gold medal for his picture "The Agents of the False Demetrius are Killing the Son of Boris Godunov" (kept in the State Tretyakov Gallery). From his school-years he started to paint portraits of his relatives and friends. Readily produced ceremonial portraits what had made him very popular among rich customers. Absence of steady and deep beliefs resulted in inconsistency and controversies of all his further creative activity. For many pictures describing everyday life ("The Poor Children", 1867, "The Wanderer with the Cook", 1868, "The Peasants` Dinner in the Harvest-time", 1871), Makovsky received the title of academician, and for work "The Public Merrymaking on the Pancake Day on the Admiralty Square in St. Petersburg" (1869, kept in the State Russian Museum) received the title of professor. Nevertheless, the reputation of a society painter completely had won and he devoted the 1870s to painting portraits, "heads", historical pictures representing scenes of boyards` life, allegories and decorative panels, quite often sensual and sentimental.

Makovsky`s picture "The Italian Girl" (the 1890s) displayed in "New Hermitage-1 " (oil on canvas, 39,5 x 37,5) often has been on display at exhibitions of the St.Petersburg Society of Artists.

"New Hermitage-1" within several years has preferred the so-called "unknown artist". "He" is dearly loved and respected in spite of the fact that he could be someone's property, someone`s "serf", and it is quite possible that he is not "unknown" fatally but only until a certain time remains "unattributed" and "undetermined". However, look at the pictures: what aristocratic freedom, what a magnificent sense of their own artistry, what faultless self-respect and dignity these "unknown artists" have put into their masterpieces.

In "New Hermitage-1" there are portraits created with a paintbrush of "unknown artists". Here are some of them:

1. Portrait based on the picture by Solomon Koninck (1609-1656) "Hermit" (the 2nd half of the 19th century, oil on canvas, 76 x 54).

2. "Portrait of Lavrenty Savelyevich Vaksel" (the third quarter of the 18th century, oil on canvas, 56,2 x 45,5).

L.S.Vaksel was a son of Swedish seaman Swen Vaksel participating in the Kamchatka expedition of Bering. In 1778 he became brigadier, later major-general and general commodore of the port of Arkhangelsk. The years of L.S.Vaksel`s life in the pre-revolutionary reference literature are not indicated, however, he is supposed to live in the second half of the 18th century. It is also known that Swen Vaksel`s children, including Lavrenty, in 1778, when they were grown ups, became hereditary noblemen. (Picture)

Portrait painting of the socialist realism epoch is widely exhibited in the halls of "New Hermitage-1". The main pathos of these products is "to glorify joy and completeness of human existence, to believe in the triumph of sound and light parts of life", if only it was possible to believe in something and to glorify something at those terrible and severe1930s. However, there were artists who managed "to see some sun in the cold water".

Fyodor Fyodorovich Platov (1895-1967). Painter and sculptor. Studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture under I.I.Mashkov (1917-1920). "The Portrait of P.D.Ettinger" (1866-1948) (water colours, gouache on paper, 55,9 x 78, 1937 - 1940) - a known Russian art critic and collector of graphic works - is characterized by free and impetuous fulfillment. The ease and sweeping manner of painting is inherent in the early decades of the 20 century, the time of flourishing of graphic art.

The collection of "New Hermitage-1" includes the best works created by masters of one of the leading artistic groups of the 1920s "The Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia".

Vera Vasilyevna Kuzmina (1902-1995). "In the Sun Light. Self-portrait" (the 2nd half of the1930s, oil on canvas, 60 x 18 cm). Studied at the Higher Art and Technical Workshops/Institute under V.V.Kuzmin. Member of the Association of Artists of Russia. From the end of 1936 studied at the Institute of improvement of skill of artists under L.Yu.Kramarenko. His treatment of light and colour problems of open air painting were shown to the full in portrait "In the Sun Light", which, according to the artist`s son S.A.Kuzmin, was a real artistic success.

Alexander Nikolayevich Bogdanov (1908-1989). "The Self-portrait" (oil on canvas, 40 x 34 cm, 1937). The elder of the realistic school of painting. Studied at the Art and Industrial school in the town Mstyory in 1924. Studied at the Moscow Higher Art and Technical Workshops/Institute in 1925-30 under K.N.Istomin, A.A.Osmyorkin, D.L.Sterenberg. Participant of the Great Patriotic war. Laconicism, expressiveness, monumental generalization of form - all these features in Bogdanov`s works look real and natural. His creativity has no limits, rules and conditions. The artist is always able to carefully disassemble details, to combine them together and to create a convincing and expressive whole.

10-04-2001 | Creations move in mysterious ways...

When spring arrives everything revives. And the creators of the website of museum-gallery "New Hermitage-1", have come out of hibernatation and, after thinking over a little bit, invented a new section, curious and intriguing: - "Creations move in mysterious ways... ". You will look at the life and creativity of many artists in a new way when you learn about some enigmatic events and interesting facts (for example, about disappearance of works of art, which later were found and saw their rebirth ) .

Not so long ago one rather remarkable work of art considered to be missing sprang up in the Kiev antiquarian market. It is one of the marvelous natural sketches by a known artist, member of the Society of Itinerant Exhibitions, V.M.Maksimov representing two peasant women in the sun light.

On the picture made by oil paints on canvas stuck to cardboard (35 x 47 cm), one can distinctly see a signature in the form of two letters "BM" and date "1873" scratched on the raw oils.

It is known that such method of signing has been often used by Vasily Maksimovich Maksimov (1844 - 1911) and upon referring to special literature, it has been found out that the artist in his time gave some of his sketches to picture seller Chekate, several of them the artists considered to be lost."I do regret the sketch depicting two peasant women in the sunlight, full-lengthed, the size of the sketch is 8 x 11 vershoks (1 vershok = 1,75 inches). Ivan Nikolayevich Kramskoy has found this sketch as the best of everything painted by me. I asked Chekate to return this sketch to me, he promised to do it when he received it from Kiev, where he had allegedly sent it to sell. It was estimated at 75 roubles. Till now I have received neither the money, nor the sketch", - Maximov said.

And now, not so long ago, this sketch was found in the antiquarian market of Kiev! This is the picture estimated in that time at 75 roubles in gold, that proves its high estimation not only by the artist himself, but also by commercial art circles of that time.

It should be added that now this sketch (oil on canvas and board, 45,5 x 34,7 cm, the late 1870s - the 1890s) to picture "Two Peasant Women", is undoubtedly a pride of museum-gallery "New Hermitage-1". (According to publications in magazines).

Nikolai Alexandrovich Klodt (1865 - 1918) (with false signature "K.Korovin"). "The Tree" (oil on canvas, 79,7 x 59,5 cm).

The authenticity of K.Korovin`s signature from the very beginning was doubtful for the experts, though such manner of painting has often been met in the artist`s works produced in the 1900s. However, it was evident that "The Tree" was created by an artist of quite different creative individuality, level of skill and temperament. The colour and texture treatment as well as the compositional pattern betrayed a master of painting, but did not prove K.Korovin`s authorship . It was clear that "The Tree" was executed by a professional and even by a master of decorative-impressionist trend of the late 19th - early 20th century. The signature helped to solve the riddle. The unusual position of the autograph placed obliquely, what was not typical for K.Korovin`s signatures has attracted the experts`attention. The analysis made has confirmed the initial suppositions that Korovin`s signature has been made from Nikolai Klodt`s autograph by changing the first letters and adding the last ones.

N.A.Klodt (Klodt von Jurgensburg, 1865-1918) is a typical representative of the Moscow school, graduated from the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Klodt was a close friend of Korovin and a producer of many Korovin`s sketches, as a matter of fact he was the co-author. In the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg there are 30 decorative panels executed by K.Korovin together with N.A.Klodt for the Russian pavilion at the World exhibition in Paris in 1900. Klodt together with Korovin designed a number of performances for the Bolshoi and Maly theatres in Moscow.

In his works Klodt became an involuntary imitator of Korovin`s manner and some of his methods, however, preserving his own individuality. I.E.Grabar called N.Klodt "an underestimated master of painting".

To determine the author of "The Tree" is also important because it uncovers one of the most characteristic ways of producing the "K.Korovin", meaning that the work produced by an imitator or a follower is signed with a name highly appreciated in the art market. (According to A.P.Gusarova`s article "The ways of forging K.Korovin`s works").

Now the picture by N.A.Klodt "The Tree" is housed in "New Hermitage -1" and it is a pride and a main work of its permanent exhibition.

The name of Nikolai Andreyevich Mamontov (1898 - 1964) until recently has been surrounded by riddles. Born in Omsk, well-known owing to his participation in exhibitions of association "The Three of Hearts" in the 1920s, the artist, according to the comments of Omsk press of that time, was the most talented member of the association. In 1924 together with the wife and her father, theatre designer D.K.Stepanov, he left for Italy. In Italy Mamontov studied at the academy of Zigmund Lipinski (1926-1930) and participated in the activities of Roman exhibition association "Fiamme" ("The Flame"). After departing to Italy, the artist disappeared."He died in Paris", "left for Samara","He is said to be seen in Moscow", - there were several versions ... Only the date of Mamontov`s death remained the same - 1934.The well-known realities of the Russian life in the 30s years seemed to have made a finale in the investigation.

But the searching unexpectedly resulted in a happy discovering of unknown events in the artist`s life. He appeared to have escaped in those hard times, travelled a lot, lived a life full of bright impressions, and what was the most important thing, he was free in creativity. Suffice it to say that in 1930 N.M.Mamontov`s personal exhibition in Rome was a great success, in the same year the artist designed pavilions for the World exhibition of decorative art in Milan. In 1932 he returned to Russia. Lived in Moscow, Kislovodsk, Vladimir, Saratov, where he was buried.

Being a visionary and a dreamer inspired by poetry and mythology, the artist created his own, far from the real life, world, sometimes mysteriously charming, sometimes warmed with an open-hearted kind smile. Mamomtov`s striving for independence prevented him from achieving public recognition, but he was true to his convictions and in many respects anticipated the searches of non-conformists, young free-thinkers of the early 60s. (According to materials of periodical press).N.M.Mamontov`s "The Woman with the Yoke" (oil on canvas, 46,5 x 38,5 cm, the 1910s - the early 1920s) is a work of a great talent, one of his early pictures, produced in Omsk, now it is in museum-gallery "New Hermitage-1" and it is of great interest for the systematic collection of Russian painting of the first quarter of the 20th century.

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Great talent and unhappy life >>>
Exhibition "A.P.Chekhov and the town of Voskresensk" in "New Jerusalem" >>>