The Dreams And Fairy Tales Of Meir Axelrod

M.Axelrod's Jewish Kolkhoz (collective farm) in Crimea, paper, ink, 1930s. © Vellum gallery
An exhibition entitled “It is all in those lines: what we dreamt of...” will open at the Artefact Gallery on Prechistenka at the end of January. Over 30 works of the famous artist of the XX century Meir Axelrod will be presented at the show. 
By:Armen Apresyan, The works of Meir Axelrod (1902-1970) have a strange and complicated destiny: his
works did not fit in with the context of Soviet art; they were too distinctive, too incomprehensible and too romantic. Well-known Russian masters were his teachers – Vladimir Favorsky and Sergey Gerasimov. Axelrod mastered the intricacies of the classic school, but he did not stop at that: he favored the masters of the Italian Renaissance, admired the French impressionists and post-impressionists. An experienced viewer will easily see the influence of Modigliani and van Gogh in his works. On the one hand, nobody banned or persecuted him, he was not left without work – he illustrated books, was a famous theater artist and authored the frescos for Sergey Eisenstein's “Ivan the Terrible” movie, which is considered a classic in the world cinema. At the same time, he had difficulty exhibiting his works. During his lifetime only two  personal exhibitions took place,   and those
M. Axelrod's Riga, paperboard, tempera, 1960s. / © Vellum gallery
were in the provincial city of Rostov-on-Don. The first retrospective exhibition in the capital opened only two years after the artist's death, in 1972. During his life he was compared to Marc Chagall. Mikhail Alpatov, a famous art critic, wrote about him, “Axelrod's art with time will be appreciated as works of one of the greatest artists of our times”. As the artist's daughter, Elena Axelrod, recalled, after his death “museums, as if they were awakened, rushed to buy his works and collectors began chasing them, both  domestic and foreign”.  It was then that the Tretyakov Gallery acquired some of his works, as well as the Russian Museum, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and many provincial museums. Meir Axelrod's popularity is increasing
M.Axelrod illustration to Anton Chekhov’s Vanka, paper, ink, whitewash, 1930 / © Vellum gallery
by the year – his works are more and more frequently presented at Russian and West European art
564533_125x125 - Work Outauctions.Several large exhibitions have been organized over the past few years. The graphic works of the 1920-1930s form the basis of the exhibition to open on January 28. Those are illustrations to the works of such famous authors as Sholom-Aleykhem, Isaac Babel, Anton Chekhov and many others. There are also some sketches of Jewish places where the artist spent his childhood and younger years, and left a great impression on his destiny and art. Of great interest are his tempera “stories”  about those places that he visited during the second half of the XX century. First of all, it includes the Baltics, which the artist saw as the “Land of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales”, with pointed columns and gothic towers stretched into the azure sky. “Here it is, a landscape embodiment of a 
M. Axelrod from The Bewitched Tailor series, paper, ink, 1930s / © Vellum gallery
Moscow intellectual's dreams of Heaven on Earth”, says the curator of the exhibition and art critic Lyubov
525035_125 x 125 10% Off BannerAgafonova. “In the 1960s when the Baltics were the sole gulp of freedom for Soviet artistic intellectuals, the best representatives of that social stratum sought to get there and portray its images in literature, poems, on paper or on canvas, and present all that to us. For the totalitarian East it was almost a Western dream of freedom, of the sea and sails, all that is so lacking from the eternal Moscow autumn”. The title of the exhibition is a line from a poem written by Pavel Kogan, Meir Axelrod's younger contemporary, a wonderful Moscow poet who died in World War II. Both came to Moscow from the Western regions of the former Empire, both were typical representatives of Moscow's artistic youth of the middle of the century. They even lived close to each other – on Leningrad Avenue, one metro stop from each other. Source: Voice of Russia

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