Russian Art heads to Abu Dhabi with Art Russe

Jun 27th, 2015 | By | Category: Journal

Art Russe, the foundation headed by the entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrey Filatov, is organising a major exhibition of Russian art in Abu Dhabi.  The exhibition will run from the 6 October 2015 – 10 December 2015 and is to be held at the Emirates Palace Hotel.

The Emirates Palace Hotel, a palatial building on the beach, constructed at a cost of US$3.5bn, is where Abu Dhabi are hosting exhibitions until the completion a series of museums on nearby Saadiyat Island.   The exhibition will be shown in an exhibition space completed in 2007 by the engineers BuroHappold under the direction of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Emirates Place Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Emirates Place Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Until recently the Gulf States were mostly interested in forming outstanding collections of Islamic Art but there are signs that their tastes are starting to broaden as they look to the future and start to diversify beyond oil and gas.  Both Qatar and Abu Dhabi are developing as cultural destinations with Adu Dhabi signing 30 year exchange agreements with the Louvre and Guggenheim museums and Qatar becoming a major buyer of Western Art, recently acquiring important paintings by the likes of Gauguin, Cezanne and Rothko.  Abu Dhabi are close to reaching a 5 year loan agreement with the British Museum who will lend them 500 important objects which are to be shown in the Zayed National Museum which is due to open in 2016.

The Russian exhibition is entitled, Art Russe Collection of 20th Century Russian and Soviet Art: War and Peace and builds on an exhibition recently organised by Art Russe at the Saatchi Gallery in London.  The London exhibition was entitled, The Legacy of WWII in Russian Art, and ran from 13th March – 6th April and focused on Russian artists response to WWII interspersed with English posters from WWII created by Britain’s Ministry of War which are now held in the Imperial War Musuem.

The new exhibition in Abu Dhabi will consist of around 120 paintings and sculpture roughly covering the period 1910 – 1980.  The Avant Garde are not included as this collection focuses more on mainstream Russian art of the period including works by many of the most famous Russian artists of the 20th century.   Early works in the collection included examples by Konstantin Korovin, Abram Arkhipov, Nikolai Fechin and Nikolai Roerich.

Nikolai Fechin, Taos Girl with Sunflowers, 1930's

Nikolai Fechin, Taos Girl with Sunflowers, 1930’s

Mid-century artists included Aleksandr Gerasimov, Fyodor Reschetnikov, Constantin Maksimov and Vladimir Gavrilov.  The Severe Style of the 1960’s is represented by the likes of Victor Ivanov, Tahir Salakhov, Peter Ossovski and Valentin Sidorov.

Tahir Salakhov, Chicago, 1964

Tahir Salakhov, Chicago, 1964

However, it is the Sculpture section of the exhibition will be the most fresh to viewers.  The quality of Russian 20th century sculpture has long been acknowledged by Russian museum curators but little studied or collected by Russian or International collectors. The exhibition includes interesting works by artists such as Meer Aizenstadt, Oleg Komov, Sarah Lebedeva, Matvey Manizer, Vera Mukhina, Ivan Shadr and Elena Yanson – Manizer.

Elena Yanson-Manizer, Discus Thrower, 1950's, bronze

Elena Yanson-Manizer, Discus Thrower, 1950’s, bronze

The organiser of the exhibition and Director of Art Russe, Rena Lavery, says, “We were delighted to be invited to organise this exhibition and it ties in with the aims of Art Russe which are to increase the appreciation for this period of Russian art through supporting exhibitions, lending artworks and publishing books and catalogues.  There are increasingly close connections between the Gulf States and Russia and we are happy to encourage a cross-cultural dialogue between the two regions.”

Georgii Motovilov, Metal Worker, 1936, Bronze

Georgii Motovilov, Metal Worker, 1936, Bronze

Fully illustrated catalogues are being published in both English and Arabic by the London-based Unicorn Press and will be available from mid-September.


Tags: Abu Dhabi Cultural destination, Art Russe, Emirates Palace Hotel, Exhibition of Russian Art heads to Abu Dhabi, Russian art, Russian art exhibitions, Russian art market., Russian painting, Russian sculpture

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