Museum of Russian art, Minneapolis, USA
18.August.2012 - 13. January.2013
Museum of arts Frai in Seattle, the USA
8.February — 12. May 2013
At the exhibition participate works from the collection of Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein)
Many Russian artists - Kandinsky, Solzhenitsyn, to name a few—were forced into exile during their lives. Their resulting works center about the very issues, right or wrong, that prompted their banishment in the first place. Few seemed willing or able to adjust to the circumstances of their new environments.One of the better adjustments to emigre life seems to have occurred in the work of the artistNicolai Ivanovich Fechin. Running from Saturday, August 24 through January 20, 2013, The Museum of Russian Art's fourth one-artist show, Discovering 20th Century Russian Masters: Nicolai Fechin, reveals how Fechin transferred his training in the realist and modernist traditions at St. Petersburg’sImperial Academy of Arts onto the subjects in his newly adopted home in the United States.
Eleanora Stendhal's portrait
A decorated artist before the Russian Revolution, Fechin immigrated with his wife Alexandra and their young daughter Eya to New York City in 1923. From there he moved to New Mexico and became part of the legendary Taos art colony that included D. H. Lawrence,Willa Cather, and Georgia O’Keefe. Because the mountains «reminded him of the beauty he had seen in Siberia» Fechin built a second home which now forms part of the current Taos Art Museum.
In this locale, Fechin applied his bravura technique of brilliant colors and contrasting tones to reveal light emanating from the body. From the humble porter portrayed in his «El Corgador» to his «Buddha with Blue Flowers and Votive Lamp» his paintings reveal his subjects’ inner beauty. For Fechin, the poor children and beggars of the Mexican Southwest «possessed a decided aristocracy in their faces»
Fechin left his house unfinished after his divorce in 1933, traveled through Mexico, Japan, the Pacific Islands of Java and Bali, and finally established a small arts school in Santa Monica, California where he died in 1955. Eya returned his ashes to his native home of Kazan, capital of Tartarstan, Russia in 1976 where the largest collection of his paintings now resides.
Though Fechin remained a prolific artist throughout his lifetime, this exhibit contains little from the last 15 years of his life. Always well-received, Fechin’s work in this exhibit shows little of the bitterness that afflicted many fellow exiles. Like his «Manicure Lady» which shows «refinement and aestheticism taken to extremes,» Fechin transformed the spitefulness of exile into «moment(s) of idealization» where «no irregular or ugly bodies» existed, only ones «filled with spirit»