The Filatov Family Art Fund has purchased 'Alert' (1980), a rare smaller painting by the famous Belorussian artist Mai Dantsig, which depicts a room that appears to have been deserted at the sound of an alert.

The painting depicts a deserted common room. The scattered furniture and the items on the tables – newspapers, a chessboard, a letter and a pen – look as if people have left the room suddenly, hastily dropping everything. The windows are wide open and gusts of wind are billowing through the long white curtains. The darkness of the night conceals the cause of the alarm. The white noise of the television screen further reinforces the atmosphere of uneasiness. The bright red, Mai Dantsig’s favourite colour, energises the canvas and links together the whole scene. Lenin’s bust seems the only constant and untouched element in the room, calmly overlooking the scene.

The bust of Vladimir Lenin and Pravda newspapers suggest that this is a “Lenin’s room” – a place for party meetings and other events that existed in every public building in the Soviet Union. Several decades after the artwork was created in 1980, the painting looks like a foreboding of the impending events: the chaos of the hastily abandoned room becomes the artistic vision of the upcoming turbulence connected with the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Andrey Filatov, the founder of the Fund, said: “We are very fortunate to have found this rare canvas by Mai Dantsig. He is best known for his monumental paintings, but this artwork equals or even exceeds many others in the power of artistic expression.”

Mai Volfovich Dantsig (b. 1930) is a celebrated Belorussian artist. From 1952 to 1958, he studied at the Moscow State Institute of V.I. Surikov under the guidance of Vitaly Tsvirko, Petr Pokarzhevskyand and Viktor Tsyplakov. From 1958, he took part in large exhibitions across the Soviet Union and abroad. His works are owned by the State Tretyakov Gallery, the National Art Museum of Belarus, and private collections in Russia, Belgium, Germany, Israel, USA, and other countries.

'Alert' (1980), oil on canvas, 95 x 105 cm.