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Sergey Kalmykov and Russian avant-garde of 1920-1930s
From A.Kasteyev State Art Museum (Almaty)

07 August - 29 September 2003
The Benois Wing

The exhibition includes 80 paintings from the collection of Russian art of 1918-1939 of Abylhan Kasteyev State art museum of the Kazakhstan Republic (Almata). Works of Sergey Kalmykov are unique and do not have any parallels in the history of world art. His unusual works of painting and graphics with astonishing subjects and characters; with synthesis of spontaneity and intellect; rich imagination and precise calculation with wide range of plastic realizations can be called science and feature fiction. He dreamed of large fezez and made sketches with beautiful and strange characters and fantastic plots. Sergey Ivanovich Kalmykov (1891-1967) was born in Samarkand but soon moved to Orenburg and went to gymnasium there. In 1909-1910 he lived in Moscow, attended K.Yuon's art school and preparatory lessons at the Moscow school of painting, sculpture and architecture. Having arrived in St.Petersburg in autumn 1910, the painter had studied in private school of Y.Zvantseva for four years. K.Petrov-Vodkin and M.Dobuzhinsky were his teachers there. In his diaries Kalmykov wrote that he had shown his "Red Horses" as well as his other sketches to Petrov-Vodkin in the autumn of 1911, and Kuzma Sergeyevich said that they looked as if had been painted by a young Japanese painter. Later Kalmykov claimed that it was him whom Petrov-Vodkin had depicted as a young man in his famous painting "Bathing of a Red Horse". After the Revolution Kalmykov lived and worked in Orenburg and in 1935 was invited to Alma-Ata to work as an art director in a music theatre (today the Academic theatre of opera and ballet). Till his death he remained an unacknowledged painter and a lonely man. The collection of Russian art of 1920-1930s was started in Abylhan Kasteyev State Art Museum of the Kazakstan Republic in 1935, but the main part of the collection was formed in 1950-1970s. While completing, avant-garde artists were preferred. Some of them were little-known or even forgotten by the time. The exhibition is organized in the context of the announced Year of Kazakhstan in the Russian Federation.