MEDIA CENTRE

ART RUSSE BUYS RESHETNIKOV’S 'THE CHESS PROBLEM'

ART RUSSE has acquired 'The Chess Problem' (late XX century), a rare canvas by the renowned Russian master Fedor Reshetnikov. This artwork is the second of Reshetnikov's paintings in the fund's collection - the fund was launched in 2012 with the acquisition of the original version of "Low Marks Again" (1948 / 1949), one of the most iconic paintings from the Soviet area, which is exhibited in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.


"The Chess Problem" depicts a young boy hunched over a chessboard. He stands alone, next to a table with an open book and appears to be contemplating a textbook chess problem from different angles. The rich, dark palette and carefully painted details - the chess pieces, the blue tablecloth, and the boy's shiny belt - are typical realism elements found in other works by Reshetnikov. Yet the canvas is devoid of any signs of ideology, which was an essential element of Socialist Realism.


In 2012, ART RUSSE acquired its first Reshetnikov artwork, the original version of "Low Marks Again". The painting, acquired from a private collection in Miami, is understood to be the earliest version of the Tretyakov Gallery masterpiece because in the background of the scene is a painting on the wall which is an initial sketch of the artist's, "Arrived on holidays" (1948) painting, for which he received the Stalin Prize in 1949. In the Tretyakov Gallery's version (created in 1952), the background painting is a complete sketch. Connecting his works in this way became a recurring detail of Reshetnikov's paintings and "Low Marks Again" itself appears as a background detail in "Re-examination", a later painting that depicts the same boy studying during the summer before resitting his examinations.


Fedor Pavlovich Reshetnikov (1906 - 1988) is a prominent Soviet painter who primarily worked in the "Socialist Realism" art genre and is also known for his caricatures. He was born in Sursko-Litovskoe, a village in modern Ukraine, to a family of an icon painter and studied in Vkhutein and later at the Moscow Art Institute from 1929 - 1934. In the 1930s he took part in the Soviet polar expeditions as an artist-reporter. He was the winner of two Stalin Prizes, in 1949 and 1951. He taught at the Moscow State Surikov Art Institute (1953 - 1956), where he was a Professor from 1954. In 1974 he became a People's Artist of the USSR.

Fedor Reshetnikov, The Chess Problem

"The Chess Problem" (late XX century). Fedor Reshetnikov. Oil on canvas.


Fedor Reshetnikov, Low Marks Again

"Low Marks Again" (1948/1949). Fedor Reshetnikov. Oil on canvas.