Lines and Colors art blog

Russian Art Gallery
Museum of Russian Art

Russian Art
I had the good fortune to be in Florence last summer. My wife and I were in a restaurant one rainy evening and the couple sitting next to us turned out to be a Russian art professor from St. Petersburg and his wife.

While we were having fun trying to carry on a conversation about art with gestures, nods, sketchbooks and the help of his wife’s limited English (certainly better than our non-grasp of Russian), the question came up about how much Russian art I was familiar with. I realized to my surprise that the answer was almost none. For some reason, even in the post-cold war climate of the last several years, Americans have some familiarity with Russian music and literature but almost no exposure to Russian visual art.

Even when I thought about it later, the only Russian painters I could think of were Chagall and Kandinski and I tend to think that’s because they both achieved notice in Paris. Russian painters who lived and worked in Russia were a blank to me. So I made a point of looking up some Russian Art on the web.

For many years of Communist (and particularly Stalinist) rule, the only art style that wasn’t actively discouraged in Soviet Russia was Socialist Realism, so there are lots of images depicting the nobility of toil and smiling workers carrying the revolutionary ideals forward, etc. Even within those oppressive limitations, Russian artists achieved great beauty and there was a surprising flowering of Russian Impressionism. That’s mostly what I’m showing here: clockwise from top left: Victor Koshevoi, Sergei A. Kolyada, Vladimir Sosnovsky and Konstantin Lomykin. I’ve become particularly impressed with the work of Vladimir Sosnovsky whose simple and direct version of impressionism reminds me of my favorite under-appreciated Impressionist, Alfred Sisley.

These images were found in the two main resources I came across on the web. The Russian Art Gallery has nice online images of work they have for sale from Russian artists working in various styles.

The Museum of Russian Art is a museum in Minnesota devoted to promoting awareness of Russian art in this country. They recently provided the art for a well-received exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum’s Sackler Center. There is a good online gallery associated with the museum’s own exhibit, Perspectives on Russian Art.

In addition, I found that Rollins College has an online section on 20th Century Russian Art and Auburn University has a good selection from several centuries.


17 responses to “Russian Art Gallery
Museum of Russian Art”

  1. Thanks once again, Charley, for an enlightening article.

  2. The Guggenheim Museum in New York recently had a show on Russian art. It began with icons from the 15th centaury and continued up to very modern paintings. The show was amazing. So many beautiful and vibrant displays of talent and expression. It’s about time the world become more familiar with Russian art.

  3. Nita, thanks for the comment. I’m glad you’re enjoying the posts.

  4. Bonnie, thanks for letting me know your impression of the show. It sounds great. I wish I had been aware of it sooner. I believe this is the show I mention in the post for which the art was from the collection of The Museum of Russian Art.

  5. I’m *SO* happy you posted this. Last year I stumbled across a book of 19th Century Russian painting at my local library and have been head over heels since. One of my favorites has been Ivan Shishkin, though unfortunately the color reproduction of a lot of his paintings available online seems way off to me. There’s also a nice tasting at The State Russian Museum. These painters should definitely be better known here… EXCELLENT post!

  6. Pavel Sokolov Avatar
    Pavel Sokolov
    This is a link to an album of some fine art pieces which are stored in Russian museums. Unfortunately, all names and comments are in Russian.
    Tip: “Ñ?ледующие 10” in the bottom is “next 10”

    Another resource is Wikipedia

    in Russian

    Russian pages differ from English ones

  7. Pavel Sokolov Avatar
    Pavel Sokolov

    and for fun. Soviet propaganda art

  8. Strangely enough, the Springville Museum of Art (Springville, Utah; about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City) has one of the largest collections of post-Revolution Russian art in the western United States. (sorry about their website; it’s not well organized.)

  9. Jeff, thanks for the nice comments. Wow, you’re right about Shiskin: wonderful landscapes. There are also some other good links on your post.

  10. Pavel, thanks for the links. There’s some really great stuff out there. It’s too bad Google’s page translation feature doesn’t do Russian to English. I didn’t think to use Wikipedia to look up Russian Painters in general, it’s quite a list. The propaganda art is a hoot, but some of it is really quite well done.

  11. doug, thanks for the link. There’s some beautiful work there.

    Obviously there is a lot to be investigated and discovered about Russian art on the web, both for personal pleasure and future posts. I love it! Thanks, all!

  12. Unfortunately, during the Soviet period, in this country Russian artists were almost un-known highly under-appreciated. However, lately there has been a boom in interest of Russian art, and it is astounding what that country has to offer. The show at the Guggenheim had quite a hand in that, and also there was an excellent show last spring at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

    You’d never expect it, but one of the largest collections of Russian art in the country is at the Robert Garren Galley in Georgetown, Tennessee. Come check it out:

  13. Thank you, Robert. The gallery is indeed remarakable and I’m made it the topic of my post for today (March 19, 2006).

  14. Russian Gallery of Art -русская живопись

  15. Антикварный портал для коллекционеров,антикваров и арт-дилеров

  16. sonny-deb Avatar

    I am looking to locate a two russian artists. can you help?
    andrei bliok
    tais tulupova
    svetlana ponoporenko
    please farfenyu@AOL.COM

  17. […] Synchronicity. Two of the art blogs I read with some regularity, Lines and Colors and William Wray, have both posted about Russian art over the last few days. Since I’m a […]