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Serge Poliakoff (1906-1969)

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I love his art. It always reminds me of the best dutch abstract artists from the 60’s and i would not be surprised of Willem Hussem was influenced by Poliakoff’s art

Serge Poliakoff was born in Moscow in 1906, the thirteenth of fourteen children. (Some sources claim that he was born in 1900, which in fact fits in better with his later history – 1906 would have him leaving home and earning his living as a musician at the age of 12.) His father, a Kyrgyz, supplied the army with horses that he bred himself and also owned a racing stable. His mother was heavily involved with the church, and its religious icons fascinated him. He enrolled at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, but fled Russia in 1918. He arrived in Constantinople in 1920, living off the profits from his talent as a guitarist.

He went on to pass through Sofia, Belgrade, Vienna, and Berlin before settling in Paris in 1923, all the while continuing to play in Russian cabarets. In 1929 he enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. His paintings remained purely academic until he discovered, during his stay in London from 1935 to 1937, the abstract art and luminous colours of the Egyptian sarcophagi. It was a little afterwards that he met Wassily Kandinsky, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, and Otto Freundlich.

With these influences, Poliakoff quickly came to be considered as one of the most powerful painters of his generation. In 1947, he was trained by Jean Deyrolle in Gordes (Vaucluse region in France) amongst peers such as Gérard Schneider, Giloli, Victor Vasarely, and Jean Dewasne. By the beginning of the 1950s, he was still staying at the Old Dovecote hotel near Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which was also home to Louis Nallard and Maria Menton, and continuing to earn a reliable income by playing the balalaika.. A contract enabled him to quickly gain better financial stability.

In 1962 a room was given over to his paintings by the Venice Biennial, and Poliakoff became a French citizen in the same year. His works are now displayed in a large number of museums in Europe and New York. Poliakoff also worked with ceramics at the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres. He influenced the paintings of Arman.

The following Poliakoff publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Günther Förg – Moskau / Moscow. 1995

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For many among us Günther Förg is the painter of lead surfaced paintings and one great print maker, but there is another quality in which he excels. Förg was a great photographer and made some high quality photo books on the almost forgotten ( Bauhaus )architecture of Tel Aviv and Moscow. The book on Tel Aviv i have sold a very long time ago, but was fortunate to find a Moscow copy with his photographs on a recent book market. This is a truly outstanding publication. Large sized , printed and published by Snoeck and of the highest print quality. The book shows the excellence of his photographs and makes you wonder why art lovers all over the world are not familiar with this part of Förg’s work.. The photographs look like still lives and do not only have an artistic quality but a historic quality too. Where the Tel Aviv book is of the highest quality, this Moscow book even looks better. It is a publication of a rare quality and a highly collectable photography/art book.

 

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Malevich…the black square(1915)

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The Black square painting by Malevich is considered to be one of the key paintings in Modern Art and possibly the first suprematist painting in the world. Non-object art was a first in those days (1915).

 

If one looks at the picture of the Petrograd exhibition of 1915, you can not imagine that these paintings were made as early as 1915!. Place them between the “hard edge” paintings of the late sixties and seventies and there is hardly any difference except their size. Who was this artist who made such a stir with his Paintings? It was Kasimir Malevich, who is recognized as one of the founders of abstract art as it is known today. Constructivists paintings in a loose way. Critics called them Suprematist paintings. The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam has the largest collection of suprematist paintings outside Russia and because they were so fortunate to have them in their collection, almost every 10 years an exhibition on them is held and with it a beautiful catalogue. (Some available at http://www.ftn-books.com) is published. Worldwide, painters were influenced by Kasimir Malevich, for instance in the Netherlands in the works by Willem Hussem and Siep van den Berg, you can recognize the influence of Malevich, but also great names in the art world like Ellsworth Kelly must know their art history. If you look at his paintings there certainly is a piece of Malevich in them.

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Icônes de l’Art Moderne. La Collection Chtchoukine

 

And there we were at the Fondation Louis Vuitton for the Chtchoukine collection…..

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Linda, David , Monica and myself were looking forward to visit this exhibition. What could we expect? Great Picasso’s, the best Matisse paintings, iconic Monet’s.  and all in one exhibition …to see this must be a fantastic experience. Some of them i had seen before, like the Gauguin’s in the Beyeler and some even 100 times or more ,because these were in the Gemeentemuseum exhibition in 1996″ FROM MONET TO MATISSE”.

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The bowl with gold fish by Matisse is such a painting, but it were the lesser known paintings that impressed me most. There was this magnificent small Rousseau in which one could see the early days of industrialization. Airplane and balloon prominently present in the painting. Furthermore there was this Maurice Denis with the subdued pastel colors. Looking like the dejeuner sur l’Herbe but in the Denis way and a beautiful, very impressive Picasso of 3 Nude Women. But the best was at the end . The part where you could see Chtchoukine had a very good eye for the modern, because the Rodtchenko’s and Malevitch’s were the works in which you could see the transition into Modern Art.

Here above are my favorites from this exhibition and of course there are many books to be found on these painters in the inventory of www.ftn-books.com