Contacts MSIO Contacts   MSIO on FACEBOOK

Odessa Museum Of Modern Art


9 октября в Музей современного искусства Одессы пройдет открытие проекта «ТИРС»

«ТИРС» – название первого в нашей стране музея современного искусства, который был основан в Одессе, в 1990-м году, еще в... more ...

28 августа откроется выставка культового художника Александра Шевчука «Садово-парковая скульптура»

В Музее современного искусства Одессы 28 августа откроется выставка культового художника Александра Шевчука «Садово-парковая скульптура». Творчество Александра Шевчука – неотъемлемая часть... more ...
Hall 4. The emergence of the Odessa School of Painting and its leader Yuri Yegorov.

In the 1960s the official high spirits and party optimism agreed with the real state of mind of a considerable part of the Soviet society. A romantic myth about “the new Soviet people” was created: they were strong, brave and delicate, their symbols were “electronic calculating machines”, mountain climbing and the guitar. Such characters became the heroes of the late period of socialist realism. They were distant from reality, but they inspired confidence in the future. At the same time there appeared in art an interest to the realities of the hard life of common people – builders, soldiers, peasants.

«Hall 4 interior»
«Hall 4 interior»

«Hall 4 interior»
«Sketch, The portrait of the artist A.B. Freydin»
«Autumn Fruits»
«September morning»
«Sea. Sail»
«Woman near the Sea»
«Tapestry “Ecology”»
«London still-life»
«Water Polo. Tapestry Sketch»
« From the series \
<<  Страница 1/2  >>

A synthesis of these ideas led to the emergence of the so-called “austere style” in Soviet painting. This style was needed by the Soviet society and was therefore quickly accepted by the most progressive part of the Communist administration, and took the leading position in the USSR.

In Odessa one of the first to turn to the austere style, especially its romantic component, was Alexander Atsmanchuk. To enhance the expressiveness of his works the painter used various techniques he had found in order to emphasize the correlation of colours. His paintings became increasingly expressive and dynamic, like the “Portrait of the painter A.B.Freidin.Study”(1962) exhibited in the Museum. Such works didn’t fit in the obsolescent dogma and provoked sharp criticism. Fortunately the painter’s high professionalism and unquestionable authority protected him from a full-scale persecution. 

The works of Alexander Freidin, a talented disciple and comrade of A.Atsmanchuk, are based on the psychological depth of images and an inner dramatic quality of the plot. The colour scheme of his “austere style” paintings is a combination of large masses of subdued colour and local colour spots. Along with his other paintings, the Museum exhibits the first version of his programme work “You are with us, you are with us, though you are not in our columns…” This picture was exhibited in 1974 and was severely censured by the culture supervisors. The formerly successful painter was deprived of public activity ; in his remaining years he wasn’t in demand and worked “for himself”.
A penchant for the austere style and its social ideas was characteristic of most painters in Odessa. The most influenced by this style were painters who had studied in Moscow or Leningrad. Thus Yuri Yegorov who came to Odessa after graduating from the Leningrad Repin Institute of painting, sculpture and architecture and from the legendary Mukhina School, painted “the soldiers of October”, exhausted but confident of the bright future, and the tired “Divers.” Another Yuri, Kovalenko, after the Leningrad Institute of theatre, music and cinema, painted severe landscapes of the great northern capital and portraits of hard-working dwellers of the country’s outback. Only after some time their view of the world was softened by the spirit of Odessa.

Valery Gegamian moved to Odessa in the 1960s and brought the traditional Caucasian expressionism which was close to fauvism.
Among the younger authors (though the age difference between the “old” and the “young ”was no more than 10 years, and they had started to work on their own at about the same time) Lev Mezhberg stands out. During his relatively short stay in Odessa (he emigrated for the USA in 1979) he succeeded in making himself noted as a talented painter with splendid technique. In the 1960s L.Mezhberg created a number of paintings where the power and concentrated emotionality of the austere style was combined with post-impressionist colour techniques. His large painting “Courage” exhibited in the Museum is striking with its unrestrained impetus and force of feeling.
It is noteworthy that the number of extraordinarily talented artists who almost simultaneously graduated from higher educational establishments and began to work in Odessa in the 1950s and 1960s, is just amazing. Such a contingent would be sufficient for an average European state to create its own art history. It’s not for nothing that A.Loza called many of them giants of the Odessa silver age. It was a wave of creative personalities, able and ready to move ahead, breaking the all-consuming greyness of the “collective march”. Khrushchev’s Thaw enabled them to realize their potential.

Together, implementing their innovative ideas, they created in the 1960s-1970s a unique phenomenon – the Odessa school of painting.

It was Yuri Yegorov who became its leader and theoretic. Already in the 1960s the aesthetics of Y.Yegorov’s art outgrew the limits set by socialist realism. The “austere style” wasn’t sufficiently versatile for the master. Impressionist experiments, with their enjoyment of every ray of sunshine and every moment of life, neither could satisfy the larger and more profound personality of Y.Yegorov. He was looking for images that presented the surrounding world in all the force and contradiction of elements, full of freedom, strength and passion.

It was the image of the sea that became Yegorov’s symbol and apology of freedom. His sea is an uncontainable, planetary ocean. Arching its horizon it rolls enormous masses of water. In spite of all its might and limitlessness, Yegorov is not frightened, he is fascinated by the sea. He never fails to notice the smallest nuances in the mood of the marine element: sapphire contrasts under the dazzling sun, cold silver under leaden clouds, or a rosy glow under the rays of sunset. Besides, the sea is almost always ideally counter-balanced with the surrounding landscape, a boat, a sail, or female figures.

Quite different thoughts and emotions are inspired by Yegorov’s still lifes. It’s a kind of microcosm created by the artist. Thus next to a vase there appears out of nowhere an arrow-crossed cone, and a simple still life acquires a metaphysical rhythm and a philosophical ring.

This is a very important feature of most of Yegorov’s works: they are made to achieve a goal. There is always a clear emphasis on the most important – sunlit fruit, a reflection of sunlight, a vertical of female figures, the almost mystical geometric signs and volumes through which the author’s idea materializes. 

The master’s versatile talent found its incarnation in various arts. He was successful in stained glass and tapestries, he created sketches of sculptural and architectural objects. The tapestry “Ecology” sketched by Yegorov and made by his wife is amazing for its purity and plasticity of image. The composition is light and refined: fish and birds, waves and arrows in the ocean space as symbols of the planet protected by two hands on a starry background.
Today the range of the phenomenon called Yuri Yegorov in the history of art is becoming obvious. He not only created his own aesthetics, he formulated the theoretical foundation of the new Odessa painting school and taught these views to his numerous disciples and followers.

This is how Y.Yegorov defined the main components of the Odessa school: “In the first place, the fact that there is a tradition… we have our predecessors – those who interpreted impressionism in their work. Secondly, echoing the French school of painting…Thirdly, live sensations of Odessa with its air, look and mood.”
The mood… It is created by the expressive, harmonious forms ideally composed in the space of the canvas., and the special Southern colour.

The lyric quality of immediate perception that avoids the dramatic. The force of emotions which is not expressed boldly; on the contrary, most delicate tone correlations avoiding the contrast are used. Odessans prefer the delicate to the bright. 

The integrity of form : whatever transformations it is subjected to, the form never loses its stability and stays undivided.
Visuality is the determinant quality of the Odessa painting school. Its world of objects is distinguished with maturity : form, colour, texture as a whole.

Lev Mezhberg considered Y.Yegorov to be “one of the few painters who glanced into the 21st century, and certainly more of an innovator than thousands of canvas-smearers”.L.Mezhberg himself, influenced – like many -- by Y.Yegorov at the initial stage of his creative work later broadened the stylistic scale of the Odessa school.
Y.Yegorov’s role in the development of Odessa avant-garde is also unique. In the 1960s -70s the master’s moral and spiritual support helped many young nonconformist painters to resist the authorities’ pressure. He created the evaluation criteria of the painter’s own way in art which have served as guidelines for several generations of painters in their search for truth.