FILATOV ART FUND BUYS ICONIC ARTWORKS BY YAR-KRAVCHENKO AND AIZENSTADT
13 Apr 14
The Filatov Family Art Fund has acquired 'Gorki reads his tale 'A Girl and Death' to Stalin, Molotov and Voroshilov, 11 October 1931' (1951), a painting by Anatoli Yar-Kravchenko, and 'Tractor Driver' (1930), a statuette by influential Russian sculptor Meer Aizenstadt. The two artworks acquired by the Fund are the rare authors' copies of the original masterpieces owned by the State Tretyakov Gallery.
Yar-Kravchenko's painting depicts writer Maxim Gorky reading his book to Joseph Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov (USSR Minister for Foreign Affairs) and Kliment Voroshilov (Minister for Defence). Gorky's son stands behind him. On 11 October 1931, after the dinner party shown in the picture, Stalin famously proclaimed, "This thing is more powerful than Goethe's Faust!" The painting is the artist's version of the original 1949 painting, which won the Stalin Prize and was later purchased by the Tretyakov Gallery.
Aizenstadt's 'Tractor Driver' (1930) shows a tractor driver in his dungarees and helmet. To ensure that the viewers are clear that this is a tractor driver, there is a small tractor perched on the figure's shoulder. The fact that the driver is proud of his work and looking forward to his forthcoming day on the tractor is expressed through his upright posture, as well as his symmetrical features. The Tretyakov Gallery has a version of this sculpture also in bronze, and the Russian Museum, where this sculpture was on loan for 50 years, has one in plaster.
Andrey Filatov, founder of the Fund, said: "These two masterpieces are significant additions to our fund as they represent some of the best examples of the Socialist Realism period. These purchases demonstrate once again the Fund's ability to locate treasures from this period of Russian art."
Anatoli Yar-Kravchenko (1911 - 1983) was a prominent Soviet artist, who is best known for his graphic portraits. In 1939, he graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Art, Sculpture and Architecture. He joined the army in 1941 as a volunteer and served in the air force, as well as an illustrator for the army newspaper. He created several portraits of Joseph Stalin and over 300 portraits of famous Soviet writers. He won many state accolades, including the Stalin Prize in 1948 and the People's Artist in 1969.
Meer Aizenstadt (1895 - 1961) was an influential Soviet sculptor. He was born in Kletsk and before finding his artistic vocation had a troubled youth. He served in the Tsar's army, but was jailed for desertion. Following this experience he roamed around Poland, where the Polish army arrested him during the Polish-Soviet War. In 1926, when he was in his thirties, Meer enrolled at Vkhutemas, the leading Moscow art school and a centre for avant-garde art. He worked in different genres, but many of his works, including those owned by the Tretyakov Gallery and the Museum of the Revolution, have been lost.
'Gorki reads his tale 'A Girl and Death' to Stalin, Molotov and Voroshilov, 11 October 1931' (1951). Anatoli Yar-Kravchenko. 136 x 149 cm. Oil on canvas.
'Tractor Driver' (1930). Meer Aizenstadt. 48 cm high. Bronze.