"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 his style, palette, and subject matter. I grouped the works into distinct categories such as landscapes, genre, horses, abstraction, and still life, but it was the portraits that truly seduced me. In my many years of studying art, I can recall but a small group of the most important artists who approached portraiture with such verve and primal intelligence.
Who were all of these people that Chetkov painted? Some were friends who sat for their portraits, others were impressions or memories of certain people, but most are pieces of the soul of the artist himself-extracted from within, virtually carved and sculpted with uncanny mastery and vibrant, exploding emotion."
- Kenneth A. Pushkin, Postwar Russian art researcher
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
In a time when artistic content was strictly mandated to espouse only the virtues of Soviet ideology, this inspiring group of artists chose to work outside of the tenets set forth by the repressive totalitarian regime, often at a great cost. These painters had a voice that could not be repressed. In spite of the many hardships and persecution that they faced, each of these artists never betrayed their true inner spirit - choosing to convey the beautiful and the elegant.See Exhibition