The branch of the State Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky ValRussian: Gosudarstvennaya Tretiakovskaya galereya na Krymskom valu or Государственная Третьяковская галерея на Крымском валу is entirely devoted to 20th century Russian art. Here you can see the first version of Malevich’s “Black Square”, Tatlin’s “LetatlinRussian: Летатлины“, Mashkov’s still lifes and Konchalovsky’s portraits, Petrov-Vodkin’s “Bathing the Red HorseRussian: Kupanie krasnogo konya or Купание красного коня“, the main symbols of social realism, and the most important nonconformists’ works on display. A visit to this museum is comparable to a trip around 20th-century Russia.
The museum’s permanent exhibition
The museum’s permanent exhibition space is divided between two floors. The second floor houses the main part of the collection, i.e. paintings and sculptures dating from the 1900s to the 1960s. The third floor is allocated to the collection of contemporary Russian art from the 1950s to the present day. The first five halls on the second floor are devoted to early Russian avant-garde artwork, including the painters of “Bubnovy ValetRussian: Бубновый валет” (The Jack of Diamonds) and “Osliny KhvostRussian: Ослиный хвост” (Donkey’s Tail) artists associations (M. Larionov and N. Goncharova, P. Konchalovsky, I. Mashkov) and individual artists including N. Pirosmani, V. Tatlin, A. Lentulov and others. The next section (halls 5, 6, 9) displays works of classical Russian avant-garde works of the 1910s: “Black Square” and other Suprematist compositions by Kazimir Malevich, “Running LandscapeRussian: Beguschiy peyzazh or Бегущий пейзаж ” by Ilya Kliun, works by Olga Rozanova, Tatlin’s counter-reliefs, “Composition VIIRussian: Kompozitsiya VII or Композиция VII” by Wassily Kandinsky, “Over the TownRussian: Nad gorodom or Над городом” by Marc Chagall, “VeniceRussian: Venetsiya or Венеция” by Alexandra Exter, and some of Pavel Filonov’s works as well.
In halls 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 you can see works of Constructivist artists, including Alexander Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova, Liubov Popova, El (Lazar) Lissitzky, Georgy Stenberg, and the OBMOKhURussian: ОБМОХУ (Society of Young Artists). Halls 15 – 25 feature paintings of the mid-1920s – early 1930s, the hardly definable time when avant-garde trends were gradually fading into insignificance. These are paintings by artists some of whom (A. Drevin, G. Rublyov, etc.) had no opportunity to be known during their lifetime and worked for their own pleasure and that of the people closest to them. Some others, however, such as A. Deineka and Y. Pimenov, became the hallmarks of the artistic style of the era.
Side by side, classical Socialist Realisma style of realistic art that was developed in the Soviet Union and became a dominant style works are displayed within the same space. Among them are “The GoalkeeperRussian: Vratar or Вратарь” by Alexander Deineka, “Lenin in SmolnyRussian: Lenin v Smolnom or Ленин в Смольном” by Isaak Brodsky, portraits by M. Nesterov and P. Korin, “An Unforgettable MeetingRussian: Nezabyvaemaya vstrecha or Незабываемая встреча” by Vasily Evfanov, “Stalin and Voroshilov in the KremlinRussian: Stalin i Voroshilov v Kremle or Сталин и Ворошилов в Кремле” by Alexander Gerasimov, “New MoscowRussian: Novaya Moskva or Новая Москва” by Yuri Pimenov, “A Letter from the FrontRussian: Pismo s fronta or Письмо с фронта” by Alexander Laktionov and “Low Marks AgainRussian: Opyat dvoyka or Опять двойка” by Fyodor Reshetnikov.
Halls 27 – 37 reflect another period of Russian history, namely, the Khrushchev Thawthe period when repression and censorship in the Soviet Union were relaxed, and millions of Soviet political prisoners were released from Gulag labor camps of the 1950-1960s and the ongoing artistic quest of the younger generation of artists. This is seen in the work of such painters as Tahir Salahov, Victor Popkov, brothers Sergey and Alexey Tkachev, Geliy Korzhev, Pavel Nikonov, Dmitry Zhilinsky and Tatiana Nazarenko.
Nonconformist art, which began in the second half of the 1950s, is exhibited in halls 30 – 35. Nonconformists did not accept the official Soviet art philosophy and, as a consequence, had no opportunity to exhibit their works freely. In pursuit of their individual style, these artists turned to the largely forgotten traditions of Russian avant-garde and Western modernism. The collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery represents this period through works of Vladimir Yakovlev, Anatoly Zverev, Lev Kropivnitsky, Oskar Rabin, Vladimir Nemukhin, Mikhail Roginsky, Dmitry Plavinsky, Dmitry Krasnopevtsev, Vladimir Weisberg, Viktor Pivovarov and Vladimir Yankilevsky.
The collection of works of the most recent art movements, displayed in the halls on the fourth floor, is replenished every year. Its time frame naturally overlaps with the collection of paintings of the second half of the 20th century. It features works of such artists as Ilya Kabakov, Francisco Infante, Konstantin Zvezdochetov, Yuri Albert, Oleg Kulik, Ivan Chuikov, Dmitry Prigov and others.
The museum’s activities
The permanent exhibition on Krymsky Val was opened to the public in 1986 – three years after the completion of the building which was built specifically for the Gallery. The building was meant as an extension of Gorky ParkRussian: Park im. Gorkogo or Парк им. Горького, which is why its shape is reminiscent of the Park pavilion. For the same reason, it features an open lower section with unattached abutment pillars, an extended length but quite a low height.
The huge exhibition space gives the museum an opportunity to carry out large-scale exhibition projects dedicated to different periods in art history. The gallery ran the following temporary exhibitions: in the 2000s – “Karl Bryullov. On the 200th Anniversary of His Birth,” “In Malevich’s Circle”, “OSCAR RABIN. THREE LIVES. A Retrospective Review”, “Viktor Popkov. 1932-1974”, etc.; in the 2010s – “Dmitry Prigov. From the Renaissance to Conceptualism and Further on”, “Natalia Goncharova. Between East and West”, “Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) – a Way to Abstraction”, “Konstantin Korovin. Painting. Theater. On the 150th Anniversary of his Birth”, “What is Truth? NIKOLAI GE. On the 180th Anniversary of his Birth”, “ALEXANDER LABAS. At the Speed of the 20th Century” and many others.
The museum actively runs educational activities. Alongside large-scale exhibitions talks, discussions, and film screenings are held. There is also a separate lecture centre offering cycles of lectures on the history of Russian art for adults, a creative centre for children, specialised courses and a “School of art expertsRussian: Shkola iskusstvoveda or Школа искусствоведа” designed for young people.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com