Impressionism in Russia

Dawn of the Avant-Garde
27. MARCH – 15. AUGUST 2021

In the late nineteenth century, many Russian artists took inspiration from the themes and techniques of the French impressionists. Portraying scenes of Russian everyday life en plein air, they tried to capture the fleeting moment in their paintings. Artists like Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, and Kazimir Malevich, who later formed the avant-garde, developed their own new art from impressionist studies of light. Showing how international their pictorial language had become by 1900, the exhibition will integrate these Russian artists into the project of European modern art.

An exhibition of the Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, and the Museum Barberini, Potsdam, in collaboration with the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Impressionism in Russia Museum Frieder Burda Baden Baden
"Painting by today's French is so empty, so stupid in content. stupid in its content: talented painting, but only painting, no content at all. painting alone, no content whatsoever. "A little later he elaborated his his thoughts in more detail: "We Slavs are apparently a different apparently a different people after all and we can never live as they do [...], we prefer something quite in art: individuality, intimacy, depth of content, truth.“
— Ilja Repin

Paris  Café de la Paix, 1906 - Konstantin Korowin (1861–1939) Impressionism in Russia Museum Frieder Burda Baden Baden
Impressionism in Russia
Paris Café de la Paix, 1906 - Konstantin Korowin (1861–1939)
Öl auf Leinwand, 60,3 x 73,5 cm
Staatliche Tretjakow-Galerie, Moskau
Auf dem Feldrain  Vera A  Repina geht mit ihren Kindern über den Feldrain, 1879 Impressionism in Russia Museum Frieder Burda Baden Baden
Impressionism in Russia
Auf dem Feldrain Vera A Repina geht mit ihren Kindern über den Feldrain, 1879
Öl auf Leinwand, 61,5 x 48 cm
Ilja Repin (1844–1930) - Staatliche Tretjakow-Galerie, Moskau
"The most complete possible description of the drama of the heart or, simply put, the inner character of a human being. "
— Iwan Kramskoi
Besuch, 1914 - Abram Archipow (1862–1930)
Öl auf Leinwand, 97 x 149 cm
Staatliche Tretjakow-Galerie, Moskau
Even before 1900, Paris was a magnet for Russian artists. It was here they encountered works such as those of Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir. They drew inspiration from the themes and painting styles of the French Impressionists. Back in Russia, they painted en plein air and traced the ephemerality of the moment when they portrayed scenes from everyday Russian life. Painters who later comprised the avant-garde also developed their art from the Impressionist studies of light.

Now, for the first time, a major exhibition being dedicated to the mani-fold forms of Impressionism in Russia. The show, which is a cooperation with the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and Museum Barberini in Potsdam, demonstrates the internationality of pictorial languages around 1900 and integrates the Russian artists into the project of European artistic modernity. The sojourns of artists in Paris, the capital of European art, left deep traces in Russian painting. The generation that came after Ilia Repin looked to the West. The boulevards and cafés of Paris were an important motif around 1900. The painters studied not just the architec-ture but also the Impressionist street scenes with their dramatic street-scapes and daring perspectives. The streets lit up at night fascinated Konstantin Korovin und Nicolas Tarkhoff, who made the subject popular.

On their return to Russia, they put their impressions of French modernity into practice: they painted outdoors and turned their canvasses into stages for the light. This provided important stimuli for landscape paint-ing, which became a field of experimentation for artists such as Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova and Kazimir Malevich. They saw themselves as Impressionists before they founded expressive Rayonism and non-representational Suprematism after 1910.

The study of light outdoors also affected their portrayal of indoor set-tings. Now, they painted rooms made worthy of portrayal by views seen through windows of illuminated by light coming in from outside. While the interiors of French painters such as Edgar Degas and Édouard Manet did without sunlight entirely, Russian painters like Stanislav Zhukovsky and Valentin Serov explored Impressionist light effects indoors. Decid-edly Impressionist themes such as strolls through bucolic meadows or still lifes of flowers or fruit were added to the palette of Russian art by painters such as Ilia Repin, Igor Grabar and Alexej von Jawlensky

The exhibition also addresses how painters such as Nicolas Tarkhoff or David Burlyuk turned Impressionist practice – in a manner comparable with the Neoimpressionists in France and the Expressionists in Germany – into a surface-like style of painting in expressive, strong colors. Final-ly, the exhibition shows works that transformed Impressionist painting of light into the abstract light allegories the Russian avant-garde prior to World War I.

The decision to bring this exhibition to Baden-Baden, which has been a popular destination and meeting place for artists, musicians and writers from Russia since the time of the Impressionists and through the writ-ings of Turgenev and Dostoevski, was made by Frieder Burda himself. The exhibition is dedicated to his memory.

Curators: Ortrud Westheider & Alla Chilova


Impressionism in Russia
Dawn of the Avant-Garde

This richly illustrated catalog of the current exhibition explores the reception of Impressionist painting in Russian art from the 1880s to the 1920s and shows that avant-garde painters such as Natalia Goncharova and Kazimir Malevich also started off from Impressionism.

Hardcover, 256 pages, with interesting contributions and 186 high-quality color illustrations.

Edited by Ortrud Westheider, Michael Philipp and Henning Schaper

Published by Prestel
€ 35,00

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