NAHUM TSCHACBASOV: A RETROSPECTIVE
June 1-16, 2013
American Avant-Garde Artist’s First Solo Exhibition in Over 25 Years Closes on June 16
NEW YORK – A retrospective of work by Russian-born American artist Nahum Tschacbasov (1899-1984) will close on June 16. Curated by Marina Kovalyov, the exhibition includes over fifty paintings and will be on view June 1-16, 2013 at the National Arts Club, as part of the 11th Annual Russian Heritage Month®, a celebration of events and exhibits highlighting Russian culture.
Tschacbasov’s prolific 60-year career includes an incredibly varied oeuvre and extensive exhibition history. His work is held in many prestigious public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, and the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University.
"Mr. Tschacbasov dominated the New York art world from the 1930s to the 1950s, displaying his intricate, symbol-laden works in the halls of art havens like the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum." -- The Huffington Post
Although the artist enjoyed a considerable presence within the New York art world from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, his later (and continuously productive) life veered off the radar of the critical establishment. This retrospective of his work presents Tschacbasov’s rich body of work and its complex and symbolic imagery as a subject deserving of reconsideration.
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan (then Russia), Tschacbasov immigrated to the United States in 1907 when his was only 8 years old. Here he received his education and had his first encounters with modern art. After spending several years in Paris studying with Leopold Gottlieb, Marcel Gromaire, and Fernand Léger, in 1935, Tschacbasov returned to New York City where he stayed for the rest of his life. In early 1936, alongside Mark Rothko and seven other artists, he became part of the Dissenters Ten (The Ten), a group of artists who protested the Whitney Annual and staged shows at Montross and Mercury galleries. Later, he formed his own school of fine arts in Woodstock, N.Y., and also taught at the Art Students League.
Inspired by myriad influences during the course of his life—from modernism to the Byzantine art—Tschacbasov's
work was in a constant state of metamorphosis, as he developed new techniques and mined new perspectives. The works represented in this exhibition reflect his development as an artist, his sense of experimentation, and a variety of styles—from classical to abstract surrealistic. While his paintings of the 1930s explored the social and political preoccupations of the times (The Ploughers, 1936; Boat People, 1938) by the mid-1940s, the artist’s focus had shifted to the deeply personal subjects—dreams, imagination, psychological insights, all of them fundamentally affecting his art. Tschacbasov’s mature works demonstrate a powerful personal iconography in which the inner workings of the psyche are revealed as myth and metaphor—at once personal and universal (City Dream, 1945; Sleeping Girl With Bouquet, 1949). Tschacbasov’s paintings from the late 1950’s until his death are the freshest and most exciting part of his long career. Included in this retrospective are some of the artist’s most expressive works (The House of Death, 1963; The Metamorphosis, 1961) as well as his rarely exhibited works of the 1970s and 1980s.
“Jewish by blood, born in a part of Russia which later became Azerbaijan, American by upbringing, Tschacbasov created the kind of art the beauty of which is truly universal.” says Marina Kovalyov.
Nahum Tschacbasov: a Retrospective is on view until June 16 at the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York
About the Russian American Foundation
Marina Kovalyov and her daughter Rina Kirshner founded the Russian American Foundation (RAF) in 1997. Its mission is to encourage interest in and understanding of Russian heritage among all communities in the US, as well as to promote reciprocal interest in and understanding of American heritage among global Russian-speaking communities.
Among some of the nationally and internationally acclaimed RAF’s initiatives are: Annual Russian Heritage Month ®, Annual Battles on Ice ® Hockey Matches, Annual Bolshoi Ballet Academy Youth Programs, Moscow Arts Festival on Broadway and many more.
The Honorable Michael A. McFaul, US Ambassador to Moscow, recently stated, "The Russian American Foundation's continued contributions to cultural, educational, and sports programs in the United States and Russia help foster greater understanding between the people of the United States and the Russian Federation.”
Dalia Stoniene / Dan Schwartz
Susan Grant Lewin Associates
High-resolution images available