Friday, January 21, 2011

Ukraine -- Mark Epstein Exhibition in Kiev

From National Art Museum web site.

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

I gladly pass on information received from Leonid Finberg in Kiev about a current exhibition at the National Art Museum there of the work of the avant garde Kiev painter Mark Epstein, who was active in the 1920s. (THIS LINK to the museum web site provides information in Ukrainian.)

The exhibition presents works of the Kiev period of Epstein's life and represents Epstein's first solo show. It opened in mid-December and runs til the end of January.

 The Kiev Judaic institute has published a book on Epstein to go with the exhibit, Mark Epstein. Return of the Master, that includes illustrations of approximately 60 of Eptein's works, most of which are published here for the first time. 

Dr. Finberg adds:

Mark Epstein was a notable figure in the artistic life of Kyiv during the 1920’s. In 1928, having just finished the Kyiv Arts College , he immersed himself into the progressive arts movement of that time. He attended O. Exter’s art studio where his newest creative ideas were polished. Mark Epstein’s cubic-futurist works of the beginning of the 1920’s – Violoncellist, Family, Tailor, The Two, A Woman with a Yoke – have become part of the history of modern Ukrainian art.

Epstein was one of the founders of the artistic section of the Culture League – an association whose aim was the development of Jewish culture. Members of the section also included O.Tishler, El Lysytsky, J. Chaikov, S. Nikritin, and others. Marc Chagall, N. Altman, R. Falk, and D. Sterenberg also cooperated with the Culture League. In their effort to create new Jewish art, members of the Culture League synthesized images of traditional art with Ukrainian avant-garde ideas.

Epstein took an active part in this work. Unfortunately, only the graphic works of Epstein have been preserved from the 1920’s; representations of his sculptures have survived only as photos, while his paintings have been totally lost.

The work of the Culture League was terminated in the middle of the 1920’s. In 1932, Epstein had to move to Moscow . He took practically no part in exhibitions there, but worked a great deal. However his attempts to adjust his talent to the requirements of the times bore no evident fruit.

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