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"Stunning Chronicle of Suffering and Renewal by Russian Artist Eva Levina-Rozengolts"
1999-06-17 until 1999-09-26
National Museum of Women in the Arts
Washington, DC, USA United States of America

When Eva Levina-Rozengolts returned to Moscow from exile in Siberia at age 58, she began her most significant body of work: ten series of drawings of landscapes and figures that reflect and transcend the anguish of exile. The National Museum of Women in the Arts will present 56 of these works, never seen outside of Russia, from the collection of the artists daughter and the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. Eva Levina- Rozengolts: Her Life and Work will be on view from June 17 through September 26, 1999.

In her ink-drawing series Trees (1956-60), Marshes (1960-61), Sky (1960-63), and People: Plastic Compositions (1965-68), Rozengolts relates the stark landscapes, bleak skies, and barren forests of Siberia to the people condemned to live and work there. Although the series begin grimly, they move from pain and darkness to resolution and light. Rozengolts began using pastels in 1968 for her series Landscapes (1968-1970), People: Plastic Compositions (1970-1974), and Sky (1970-1974), revisiting some of her earlier subjects. The bright, meditative quality of her final pastel work, completed shortly before her death, suggests that she had come to terms with her harrowing experience.

Rozengolts was known only to an intimate group of artists and critics in Russia until 1996, when the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow presented a retrospective of her work. The exhibition impressed viewers not only for its deviation from the prevailing style of socialist realism, but also for its profound statement on the cruelties of Stalins regime. Artistic and critical focus is now on the drawings Rozengolts produced in the final two decades of her life.

Eva Levina-Rozengolts: Her Life and Work was organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts and guest curator Joan Afferica. It is accompanied by a 50-page, illustrated catalogue with an introduction by Russian artist Eric Bulatov and an essay by Afferica. The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Janet McKinley; George Miller; Hewlett-Mellon Fund, Presidents Office, Smith College; Karen Miller; Trust for Mutual Understanding; Ann W. Ramsey; Edgar M. Bronfman and The Samuel Bronfman Foundation; Capital Group Matching Gift; Austin C. Smith; Felice Batlan; Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering; Ellen Brennan; and other supporters.>Rozengolts (1898-1975) studied art at the Higher Art and Technical Studios in Moscow and worked part-time as an artist prior to her exile, but it was not until she returned from Siberia that her artistic vision developed fully. In 1949 she was abducted from her home and exiled, for kinship with her stepbrother and prominent Bolshevik Arkady Rozengolts, and for her Jewish heritage. She spent seven years living in settlements on the Enisei Tract, laboring in a lumberyard and completing rare commercial art assignments to survive. In 1956 she arrived in Moscow with two sketchbooks of scenes of life in exile, and for the next 20 years committed herself to transferring these and other remembered images onto paper. In all, she produced 227 drawings.

In her ink-drawing series Trees (1956-60), Marshes (1960-61), Sky (1960-63), and People: Plastic Compositions (1965-68), Rozengolts relates the stark landscapes, bleak skies, and barren forests of Siberia to the people condemned to live and work there. Although the series begin grimly, they move from pain and darkness to resolution and light. Rozengolts began using pastels in 1968 for her series Landscapes (1968-1970), People: Plastic Compositions (1970-1974), and Sky (1970-1974), revisiting some of her earlier subjects. The bright, meditative quality of her final pastel work, completed shortly before her death, suggests that she had come to terms with her harrowing experience.

Rozengolts was known only to an intimate group of artists and critics in Russia until 1996, when the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow presented a retrospective of her work. The exhibition impressed viewers not only for its deviation from the prevailing style of socialist realism, but also for its profound statement on the cruelties of Stalins regime. Artistic and critical focus is now on the drawings Rozengolts produced in the final two decades of her life.

Eva Levina-Rozengolts: Her Life and Work was organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts and guest curator Joan Afferica. It is accompanied by a 50-page, illustrated catalogue with an introduction by Russian artist Eric Bulatov and an essay by Afferica. The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Janet McKinley; George Miller; Hewlett-Mellon Fund, Presidents Office, Smith College; Karen Miller; Trust for Mutual Understanding; Ann W. Ramsey; Edgar M. Bronfman and The Samuel Bronfman Foundation; Capital Group Matching Gift; Austin C. Smith; Felice Batlan; Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering; Ellen Brennan; and other supporters.


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