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For the first time a joint exhibition of works by Feshin and Erzya was presented in Kazan – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Date: July 23, 2024 Time: 03:17:31

This amazing project was made possible through the efforts of the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Republican Museum of Fine Arts of Mordovia named after SD Erzi (Saransk). And the ideological inspirer was the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts named after Ilya Repin. It was within its walls that a large-scale exhibition of works by Feshin and Erzya was first organized. “It was a miracle that I wanted to repeat,” admitted the general director of the Pushkin Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan, Rozalia Nurgaleeva.

And now the exhibition, albeit in a more modest format, opened in Kazan. More than 60 works by both masters are presented here. Among them are “Slaughterhouse”, “Portrait of Varya Adoratskaya”, “Portrait of NM Sapozhnikova at the piano”, “Wetting”, “Melancholy”, “Mother with Child”, “Portrait of a Mordovian Woman”.

The works are complemented by excerpts from biographies. The destinies of the artists had a lot in common. Nikolai Feshin was born in 1881 in Kazan in the family of an iconostasis carver and from a young age began to help his father in his craft. Stepan Nefedov (Erzya is a creative pseudonym) comes from the neighboring province of Simbirsk and is only five years older than Feshin. His creative path also began when he was a child in an icon painting workshop. And then he came to Kazan, where he painted churches.

Later, both studied in the capitals. Nikolai Feshin is in St. Petersburg at the Higher Art School of the Imperial Academy of Arts, and Stepan Erzya is at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. After graduating, the young artists quickly gained global recognition and exhibited at prestigious European exhibitions. And although one of them became a painter and the second a sculptor, a consonance can also be discerned in their work. Which, in fact, is what the “Encuentro” project allows, where the works of the masters are located side by side.

As the curator of the exhibition Polina Vavilova explains, both chose man in his sensual manifestation as their main theme. They both experimented a lot, worked at the intersection of different styles: expressionism, impressionism, modernism. Finally, the authors paid great attention to national images. Nikolai Feshin at one time traveled a lot in the Volga region, which was reflected in a series of ethnographic paintings. And Mordvin Stepan Erzya sang the praises of his people all his life.

In the room that concludes the exhibition you can see two works that come together at the same point. This is a wooden sculpture and portrait of Lenin. The crossing is very symbolic. It cannot be said that Feshin and Erzya were ardent supporters of the revolution, but they did not reject it either. They remained in their homeland after 1917 and continued to work, experiencing all the difficulties of the Civil War.

And yet, both were forced to emigrate in the 1920s, not so much for political reasons but for financial and creative ones. In Soviet Russia they had almost no means of subsistence, but in the West they were known and appreciated. Nikolai Feshin settled in New York and later in California. Stepan Erzya settled in Argentina.

Mordovian features can be distinguished in Lenin’s sculpture. Photo: Alexander Eshkinin

As noted by the head of the research department of the Mordovian Republican Museum of Fine Arts named after SD Erzi Viktor Mokhaev, so their destinies once again “rhyme” in an amazing way. One ended up in North America and the other in South America. This period, despite all the external prosperity, was tragic.

According to Ekaterina Klyuchevskaya, an art critic and prominent employee of the Pushkin Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan, if Feshin was creatively and financially successful in the United States, complete oblivion reigned in his homeland. The painter dreamed of returning, but it didn’t work out. He died in a foreign land in 1955. And Stepan Erzya returned to the Soviet Union in 1950. He survived Feshin by four years.

And now, half a century later, two parallel lines of destiny crossed. The artists finally met and are having a silent conversation. And we were lucky to be present.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.
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