If you are going to the Crimea before the 9th of August, be sure to plan a trip to Simferopol to visit the House of Artists on Karl Marx street 13/16. There is now a personal exhibition of Fyodor Zakharov’s works. Do not worry if you do not get on it next week — in the Simferopol art Museum it will open again in September, and in November — in the Tretyakov gallery.
Fyodor Zakharovich Zakharov (1919-1994) was a Soviet and Ukrainian artist. One of the few artists of the Crimea recognized by the capital’s art communities (St. Petersburg, formerly Leningrad, and Moscow): he was awarded a diploma of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, People’s artist of the USR, member of the Republican Commission on painting, laureate of the State prize of the USR named after Taras Shevchenko for a series of landscapes and still lifes “My Motherland is Ukraine”. In his memory in April this year the Tretyakov gallery held a solo exhibition of his works.
How to describe his work in a nutshell? Crimean impressionism. We can say that he is at the origins of this trend — today many artists of the Crimea somehow write in this field (especially the so-called “street artists”), which is quite natural, because they are surrounded by magnificent mountain and sea nature.
Originally from Smolensk, Fyodor Zakharov was able to experience the gentleness, transience and attractiveness of the Crimean landscapes: from calm and serenity to the storm and violence. Looking at his work, you feel the smell of flowers, the sound of the sea, the singing birds in the mountains and the rustle of leaves. If you managed to visit the depicted places, for example, Bakhchisarai, Massandra, Yalta or Gurzuf, every second you move into this space, remembering your situations, emotions and that exclusively Crimean aroma of nature.
In addition to landscapes, the artist painted many still lifes: mostly floral arrangements. They are just as bright, rich and thought out to the last detail. Pleasant spring notes of lavender bouquet, ripe and juicy fruits are especially fresh and accurate.
I have to feel what I’m portraying. I can’t create if I don’t feel what I’m writing
If you know that he was recognized in the USSR and that he is well recognized even today, you’ll understand the high cost of his paintings: the price tag for his work starts from 300 000 rubles and reaches several millions depending on the work. Of course, knowing these details, you expect a hall like in Gallery with a security system, barriers, carefully thought-out exposure and lighting.
Specifically, in the House of Artists everything is completely different: the hall is not divided into zones, and grandmother-caretakers allow children to run around the hall, tell stories (“the artist depicted it here because he thought that…”) and allow themselves to criticize his paintings; there are no barriers, as well as lighting, air conditioning and… alarms, too. It is quite strange to see a little girl of six gently touching the picture frame and the canvas itself.
All these details speak about the state of the art world in Crimea — we will talk about it in frank interviews with local artists. But in the meantime, it is worth stopping for a moment and enjoy the works of the artist in quite a typical for the Crimea “Museum” space for free.