Uzbek Village
Uzbek Village

Nikonov, Pavel

1930 -

Uzbek Village

Oil on canvas

80 x 90cm





Moscow Union of Artists


Certificate from the artist


Pavel Nikonov authenticating this painting in 2012

Stalin’s death on March 5, 1953 marked the beginning of a new direction for Soviet painting and the emergence of a new style known today as the ‘Severe Style’ or the ‘Severe School.’  Nikita Khrushchev came to power and delivered his so-called ‘Secret Speech,’ in which he denounced Stalin’s cult of personality and the brutality of his reign.  This instigated the period now known as the ‘thaw’ that allowed increased freedoms in many areas of Soviet life including artistic production.


In the early 1950’s and after Stalin’s death and the ‘thaw,’ exhibitions of Western art came to Russia for the first time including shows of international contemporary art, Picasso and Abstract Expressionism.  Pavel Nikonov was part of a pioneering group of artists such as Nikolai Andronov, Geli Korzhev, Viktor Popkov, Pyotr Ossovski, Victor Ivanov and Tair Salahov who rejected the happy cheerful subject matter of Socialist Realism and drew upon Soviet art of the 1920’s for inspiration and created the ‘Severe Style.’  They abandoned the polished classical style that was fashionable at the time and practiced by artists such as Aleksandr Laktianov and presented a subject matter that they felt better reflected the grim austerity of post war Russia.  Monumental paintings by Korzhev, Popkov and Salahov used subjects drawn from daily life with simplified form, colour and a dramatic cinematic manner.

By the 1980's most of the pioneering Severe Style artists had further developed their own distinctive artistic styles.  Nikonov became more interested in exploring the metaphysical potential of art, i.e. the feelings that it could capture and convey to the viewer.  Uzbek village was painted on Nikonov's extensive travels through Uzbekistan and other regions on the periphery of the former Soviet Union.  A small family stand outside a whitewashed house and watch as a man on a donkey rides by, a scene satisfying in its utmost simplicity.  A tree grows out of the courtyard into the sky.  When shown this painting in 2012 the artist said he was proud of it and felt it was a good example of his art.




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