Nothing but Harmony. Vladimir Weisberg from the Collections of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and Inna Bazhenova | Vladimir Weisberg Foundation


01.02.2019 — 28.07.2019

Nothing but Harmony. Vladimir Weisberg from the Collections of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and Inna Bazhenova

Location: In artibus Foundation

‘If our vision was perfect, we would no longer distinguish between objects, we would see nothing but harmony.’
Vladimir Weisberg. 20 Sayings. Recorded and published by Ksenia Muratova

In artibus Foundation and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts brought together two large collections of works by Vladimir Weisberg — a private collection and a museum collection — to create a monographic exhibition of one of the leading Russian artists of the 20th century. More than 100 works represented all periods of his activity, from the 1940s to the 1980s.

Vladimir Weisberg (1924–1985) was an artist and theorist, a key figure in Russian post-war art. His work did not fit within official art or that of the nonconformists. Weisberg was an artist of tradition working within the strict rules of classical painting and seeing his aim as the comprehension of its laws.

There are more than 140 works by Vladimir Weisberg in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the most comprehensive collection in Russia. It is based on a generous gift from the artist’s widow, Galina Mikhailovna Ermina, in 1997: 57 paintings, watercolours and drawings. Since then, museum staff have worked on researching and promoting the creative and theoretical legacy of the artist. An important stage was the publication of the monograph From Colour to Light by Anna Chudetskaya, the keeper of the Weisberg collection in the Department of Private Collections.

For many years there was a Weisberg room in the Museum of Private Collections, but today all of the works are in storage. The aim of the exhibition at In artibus Foundation was to ensure that the artist’s work remained on view for specialists and the wider audience.

A mono-collection of Vladimir Weisberg, comprising more than 40 works, forms a special accent within Inna Bazhenova’s collection of European painting. Her work with Weisberg’s legacy — exhibitions, conferences, publication of catalogues and monographs — permits us to call Inna Bazhenova a connoisseur of Vladimir Weisberg’s work. In 2009, with her support, the first monograph on the artist, In Love with Classical Art. V.G. Weisberg’s Paintings in the Tradition of Colourism by Elena Khlopina, saw the light of day. In 2014, Inna Bazhenova’s non-profit In artibus Foundation organised the exhibition Vladimir Weisberg. In Love with Classical Art, which showed works from private collections, the State Tretyakov Gallery and regional Russian museums.

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts lent more than 60 works for the exhibition Nothing but Harmony. This was the first time such a large number of works by Weisberg had left the museum. The paintings and works on paper were exhibited in the space on Prechistenskaya naberezhnaya for six months. This was the longest ever exhibition of Vladimir Weisberg. For half a year more than 50 paintings were shown and the works on paper were exhibited in two blocks: the first from the Pushkin Museum (February–April) and the second from Inna Bazhenova’s collection (May–July).

The paintings shown at the exhibition ranged from early works from the 1940s to the artist’s last painting, Venus and Geometry (1984), which remained unfinished on his easel. Viewers had another chance to see one the rarest landscapes by Weisberg, Bush (1947), early still lifes — from the Mashkov-like Food to the illusionist Bread (1950) — the famous double portrait The Shcheglov Family (1958), striking female images from the late 1950s and early 1960s, important works from the 1960s — a time of transition from colour to white — and the variety of the ‘white on white period (1970s–1980s).

A video about how the exhibition was organised can be seen on the In artibus Foundation YouTube channel.