The Filatov Family Art Fund has acquired a painting by prominent Russian artist Alexander Gerasimov and a sculpture by Elena Janson-Manizer, a leading 20th century sculptor. Both artworks come from a private collection in the US and have not previously been shown to the public.

The painting by Alexander Gerasimov, Joseph Stalin's favorite artist, is a still life depicting lilacs in a glass can. The artwork curiously contrasts with Gerasimov's famous paintings depicting Joseph Stalin and other Soviet leaders. An active proponent of Socialist Realism and an opponent of all deviations from the official doctrine, Gerasimov also created deeply lyrical and tranquil works, such as his famousAfter the Rain, now at the Tretyakov Gallery, or Still Life with Roses, now also in the Fund's collection. It is possible that these unique works were painted in the privacy of the artist's country house, where he could escape his own dogmas.

The second acquisition is an original bronze statuette by Elena Janson-Manizer, a Soviet sculptor famous for her depiction of athletes - her works decorate many parks in Moscow and St Petersburg. The artwork in the Fund's collection is one of the few original surviving casts from the two-metre-high clay sculpture created in 1940s. The statue depicts Galina Ulanova, one the most famous ballerinas of the Soviet period, in the role of Odette from the ballet "Swan Lake". Ulanova is gracefully pirouetting en pointe, perfectly balancing with her back arched. The statuette reveals the artist's deep appreciation of ballet and is a rare example of smaller casts by the author.

Andrey Filatov, founder of the Fund said: "I am delighted that we discovered these rare, less formal pieces by two famous Soviet artists, and will be able to bring them to a wider audience. Both Gerasimov and Janson-Manizer are known for their public works - the paintings of the leaders and the sculptures of the champions. Yet, the lesser known smaller artworks are often even more expressive as they reveal the passions of these two masters."

Alexander Mikhailovich Gerasimov (1881 - 1963) was a celebrated Russian artist and one of the leading proponents of socialist realism. In 1903 to 1915 he studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he experimented with impressionism. He served in the army during World War I and the Civil War. He subsequently returned to Kozlov, his hometown, to work as a stage designer. In 1925 he went back to Moscow to set up a studio, painting images of Vladimir Lenin and other revolutionaries as larger-than-life heroes. In 1941 he won the Stalin Prize for "Stalin and Voroshilov in the Kremlin", his best-known painting. He became Joseph Stalin's favourite artist and received another three Stalin Prizes in 1943, 1946 and 1949 and was also appointed the president of the USSR Academy of Arts in 1947. After Stalin's death, Gerasimov lost some of his titles and a number of paintings were removed from museums. His works are still owned by the Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum, and other galleries

Elena Alexandrovna Janson-Manizer (1890 - 1971) was a leading sculptor, best known for her depictions of athletes and dancers. Born in Peterhof, she studied architecture in St Petersburg, while also working as a drafter and theatre designer before transferring to a sculpture department. Her beautiful sculptures of sportsman can be seen today in the public gardens of Moscow and St Petersburg and in the stations of the Moscow Metro. A fervent admirer and subtle connoisseur of ballet, Janson-Manizer has also portrayed many famous ballet dancers, capturing their individual style, grace and athleticism.


'Still life - Lilacs in the Glass Can' (1930) by Alexander Gerasimov, oil on canvas, 49 x 39 cm.

Elena Janson-Manizer

'Galina Ulanova as 'Odette' in Swan Lake' (1950's) by Elena Janson-Manizer, bronze, 50 cm.