Nikolai Efimovich Timkov, one of the most enchanting Russian landscape painters of the second half of the 20th century, belongs to a breed of artist very familiar to us from literature, a classic type, and one that is particularly characteristic of Russia. He never felt himself to be marginalized. He lived as full a life as the times permitted, studied in the finest artistic establishments, went to war and played a part in artistic life. He was above all a fortunate man. He pursued his work, managing to protect it from outside influences and demands extraneous to art- and that in stern times, when the state monitored every breath and every stroke of the brush. Today, when many a reputation has crumbled and once-celebrated names have been consigned to oblivion, Timkov’s work is attracting ever-increasing public interest.
The rise of Impressionism was a revolt against a realistic painting tradition that began in antiquity and ended in the academies and salons of late nineteenth century France. It liberated the landscape from the somber palette of the past while moving inexorably toward the abstraction of the future. It was here that a generation of painters, led by Nikolai Timkov, found the lyrical language to convey the beauty and vastness of the Russian countryside.
A true romantic, for whom the native villages, peasant dwellings, barns and hay stacks were not mute motifs but a living entity. Timkov’s dialogue with nature corresponds almost perfectly with Russian poet Alexander Blok’s resonant lines:
"Your grey huts are to me.
Like tears of my first love."
"Portraits are often the most captivating subjects that an artist undertakes, providing as much insight (or more) into the artist as they do of the person being portrayed. Boris Chetkov's portraits are extraordinary in this respect. In creating images of these myriad personalities, real and imagined, Chetkov opens his heart and his mind without reservation or pretense. When I first visited him in his rooftop studio, I was immediately struck by the astonishing range of...See Exhibition
The diversity of early abstract and avant-garde styles which flourished within Russia during the early 20th Century began to fade with the advent of the Soviet Empire. Soviet Realism, the “depiction of reality in its revolutionary development” is approved in 1934 as the official art of the USSR. All other genres are suppressed and the revolutionary artists work solely underground. The Pushkin Collection here presents enigmatic portraits of Russians during the Soviet-era...See Exhibition