The Exhibition From Colour to Light. Marking the Centenary of Vladimir Weisberg’s Birth | Vladimir Weisberg Foundation


02.04.2024 — 30.06.2024

The Exhibition From Colour to Light. Marking the Centenary of Vladimir Weisberg’s Birth

The Exhibition From Colour to Light. Marking the Centenary of Vladimir Weisberg’s Birth

Dates: 2 April – 30 June 2024

Location: Gallery of 19th and 20th Century European and American Art (Volkhonka, 14)

Curators: Anna Chudetskaya (1958–2023), Candidate of Art History, Keeper of the Vladimir Weisberg Collection in the Department of Private Collections of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts; Elena Kamenskaya, Candidate of Art History, Adviser to the Directorate of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

Participants: Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, State Tretyakov Gallery, State Rostov-Yaroslavl Architectural and Art Museum and Preserve, private collections

This monographic exhibition of work by Vladimir Weisberg (1924­–1984) opens in his centenary year. It is dedicated both to the artist and to Weisberg specialist Anna Chudetskaya (1958–2023), Keeper of the Vladimir Weisberg Collection in the Department of Private Collections of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. The concept is based on Anna Chudetskaya’s materials and her important monograph From Colour to Light.

The exhibition is supported by the Vladimir Weisberg Foundation.

Vladimir Weisberg was a leading Russian artist and art theorist from the post-war generation of artists who established themselves in the period from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s. His work was outside the frameworks of both official art and nonconformism. He was an artist of tradition and the aim of his theoretical explorations and painting practice was to understand the laws of classical art.

Vladimir Weisberg had a long-standing connection to the Pushkin Museum. From his early youth until the end of his life he visited the museum almost weekly. This link continued after the artist’s death. In 1997 his widow, Galina Eremina, donated a collection of paintings and works on paper to the Pushkin Museum. Thanks to her gift, this is the largest museum collection of works by Vladimir Weisberg.

The exhibition From Colour to Light. Marking the Centenary of Vladimir Weisberg’s Birth is a sequential story of the artist’s work, divided into seven sections and organised chronologically.

Two rooms are dedicated to the so-called colour period, which encompasses works from the late 1950s, when Weisberg was working against the background of the cultural reawakening of the Thaw and the revitalisation of artistic life in the country. At that time the Pushkin Museum was a school for Vladimir Weisberg. In order to see the masterpieces from the Dresden Collection at the famous exhibition of 1955, he joined the Museum as a manual worker and thus could spend hours studying the works, including those by the Impressionists and Cezanne. This direct contact with artworks had an enormous influence on the development of his artistic method.

The room “The Transformation of Reality” explores the creation of Weisberg’s original painting concept. It contains important works of the period, such as Dedicated to Cezanne, Composition with Gauze Fabric, Architecture and others. In 1962 the artist presented a paper entitled “Three Types of Colouristic Perception” at the symposium of philosophers and linguists of the Moscow-Tartu Semiotic School. It marked a turning point in his work. Weisberg viewed the evolution of the perception of colour as a progressive development in the history of art, which, having shifted from pure natural likeness through an analytical stage, became a tool for studying human consciousness.

The room with drawings reveals “Weisberg’s laboratory” to the viewer. For a long time, the artist followed a strict timetable: the morning was for drawing and the evening for drawing. In his everyday creative practice, he used drawings at the stage of direct perception, while employing watercolour when working with colour to depict nudes and begin the process of dematerialising form.

The “invisible painting” of his mature period can be seen in the two final rooms. “The architecture of values” is a term that Vladimir Weisberg used in the mid-1960s to define his painting. He constructed compositions using the interaction of close shades of colour. A “white” work by the artist never included pure colour: whitening was mixed into chromatic colours. Weisberg called the subtle nuances of colour and tone that made up his overall colour solution “values”. At the beginning of his “white” period he worked with complex texture, applying body strokes of various thicknesses, but later focused on the problems of space.

“Harmony should be created on the canvas”, said the artist at the end of the 1970s, reinforcing in practice his theory of “harmonious integrity” through a series of paintings. It was then that his recognisable, ideally smooth painting surface appeared, on which the object depicted was shrouded in an environment that united colour and light. Weisberg’s instinctive attempts to move from an emotional to an intellectual perception of colour, “to break away from the object” and dissolve it, led the artist to work with almost monochrome, saturated tonal oscillations, to the shimmering painterly mirage of “white on white”.

Anna Chudetskaya, to whom this exhibition is dedicated, wrote her Candidate of Art History dissertation about Vladimir Weisberg. This was followed by articles, albums and the monograph From Colour to Light (2018). Anna Yurievna’s constant work in researching and promoting the artist’s creative and theoretical heritage continued until the very end of her life. Weisberg’s centenary could have been yet another high point in understanding the artist’s work.

The exhibition is accompanied by educational and inclusive programs and a collection of gifts.

The Museum expresses its gratitude to In artibus Foundation.


The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts is a museum complex that houses one of the largest collections of international art in Russia. The museum holds around 700,000 works created by artists from various epochs, from Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece to the present. In the Main Building there are important works of international painting, including by Rembrandt, Rubens, Botticelli, Canaletto, Poussin, artists of the Northern Renaissance and others. The world-famous collection of French art of the 19th and 20th centuries is based on those of patrons of the arts Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov. It includes masterpieces by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and others. In January 2020 the National Centre for Contemporary Arts, which has branches in Vladikavkaz, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, St Petersburg and Tomsk, became part of the Pushkin Museum.