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ANATOLY KAPLAN Painting, Graphic Art, Sculpture and Ceramics

06 July - 27 August 2007
St Michael's (Engineers) Castle

The exhibition presents both the works of one of the most outstanding 20th century artist and Isaac and Lyudmila Kushnir?s art collection. Alongside the first-rank works of contemporary artists the St Petersburg Kushnir?s collection contains paintings, drawings, lithoprints, etchings and brilliant ceramics by Anatoly Kaplan that make this collection truly unique. The encounter between this artist and this collector looks predetermined. Later, the admirer of Kaplan?s art became its collector, thus making his best to preserve the artist?s legacy in its entirety. Kaplan?s ceramic sculptures, paintings and numerous graphic works gathered by Kushnir would make up a good museum collection, including that of the Russian Museum, which is diverse and extensive enough. The artist used to repeat certain subjects and settings reproducing them in different materials and each time rendering new tints to the otherwise familiar images. Intimate and seemingly limited space of his art unfolds the whole gradation of tones ranging from gentle lyrics to genuine tragedy. Collections containing Kaplan?s works should not be valued for their size and completeness, it is far more valuable that any of them lets the viewer into the immense richness of Kaplan?s artistic thinking. Anatoly Lvovich (Tankhum Levi-Itsik) Kaplan (1902-1980) was born in the town of Rogachev, Mogilev Province (before the revolution). In 1922 he came to Petrograd to study painting at the Academy of Arts and stayed there forever. Due to his unique skill and high reputation among professionals and experts Kaplan took his own niche in the history of Leningrad culture. Kaplan was not only a major artist, he was, first and foremost, a national artist. The theme of Judaism in his work only serves to strengthen its message to mankind at large. Critics always marked: "Kaplan depicted what he knew, understood and loved, what has always been eternal and invariable". The exhibition displays the most well-known artworks by the artist — brilliant series of colour and black-and-white lithographs on the subjects of the classics of Jewish literature: Sholom-Aleikhem and Mendele Moikher-Sforim (The Bewitched Tailor, Tev?ye the Milkman, Stempenyu, Fishka Khromoi); minimalist etchings, devoted to Rogachev; light, transparent though murky, disturbing and dark drawings in hard and soft pencils, charcoal, pastels; ceramic reliefs striking with variety of motifs and wonderful polychrome. Paintings of the 1940s are a true revelation of the exhibition. They are full of energy and power of the artist?s peculiar talent and pictorial temperament enabling the viewer to reinterpret the familiar and essential art of Anatoly Kaplan.