FILATOV ART FUND EXPANDS COLLECTION WITH STILL LIFE BY FOREMOST SOVIET ARTIST
23 Aug 13
The Filatov Family Art Fund has expanded its collection of Russian XXth century art with the acquisition of "Still Life with Roses" (1947) by Alexander Gerasimov, a recipient of four Stalin Prizes and one of the most prominent socialist realist artists.
Alexander Gerasimov was Stalin's favourite artist and creator of some of the most iconic socialist realist canvases. His painting "Stalin and Voroshilov in Kremlin" (1938) won him his first Stalin Prize in 1941 and launched his career as the foremost Soviet ideological artist, leading up to his appointment as the first president of the USSR Academy of Arts in 1947.
Gerasimov's painting now part of the fund's collection is drastically different from the ideological paintings that brought him fame and state accolades. "Still Life with Roses" depicts a still life with flowers on a table in front of a window that opens into a garden, with bright sunlight filling the room. Gerasimov painted a series of similar depictions of flowers, but these paintings are lesser known than his larger-than-life portraits of Soviet leaders. Rich red and green contrast the airy colours of the reflection on the table and the carafes. Large expressive strokes flesh out the flowers, but the main focus is on the play of light, diffracting in the water and reflecting from the table surface. The table appears to be wet, demonstrating Gerasimov's signature manner of realistic paintings of wet and polished surfaces.
Andrey Filatov, founder of the Fund said: "Gerasimov is a somewhat controversial figure. He was praised during Stalin's life and lambasted after his death. Yet, his mastery in painting still life and landscape, especially in capturing reflections, is unquestionable. I am delighted to be able to showcase his talent to a wider audience."
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 returned 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
'Still Life with Roses' (1947), 90 x 84 cm, oil on canvas.