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21 November 2017

Supporting Art Studies in Russia

The U-Art Foundation establishes a grant for Tretyakov Gallery scholars

Text: Olga Muromtseva
Photo: Alexander Kazakov

In early 2017, the U-ART Foundation announced t at a scholarly conference. The Foundation's initiative will contribute to the development of art studies in Russia and the expansion of the research's geography, providing to the scholars access to objects and materials previously out of their reach. he launch of an endowment program for the State Tretyakov Gallery art researchers. The new source of funding will make possible doing research at out-of-country museums, archives, universities, and other institutions

The new endowment program has drawn the attention of many art scholars

Often, documents important for research and works of Russian artists are found in collections abroad. Sometimes whole chapters of one or another master's biography remain unwritten due to the fact that the information on a particular period of his or her life (for example, traveling to other countries) is inaccessible to Russian art historians. The U-Art Foundation endowment program is intended to help filling these gaps. The grants fully cover all travel and visit expenses as well as the research costs. The primary result of the research is the beneficiary scholar's report to the Foundation and the Tretyakov Gallery, whereas the ultimate objectives are an exhibition project, publication of an article or a monograph, and a presentation at a scholarly conference. The Foundation's initiative will contribute to the development of art studies in Russia and the expansion of the research's geography, providing to the scholars access to objects and materials previously out of their reach.

Iveta Manasherova, co-founder of the U-Art Foundation, and Irina Pronina of the 1st Half of the 20th Century Painting Department

Applications for participation in the program will be accepted once a year, in December, and then reviewed by the Expert Board over a two-month period. In March of the following year, the new grant recipients will be announced during the award ceremony at the Mikhail Vrubel Hall of the Tretyakov Gallery. This year's Expert Board members are: Zelfira Tregulova, General Director of the Tretyakov Gallery; Tatyana Karpova, Deputy Director for Research; Faina Balakhovskaya, Advisor to the Director; Marina Elzesser, Deputy Director for Education; Tatyana Yudkevich, Academic Administrative Assistant; and Iveta Manasherova, co-founder of the U-ART Foundation, art scholar and collector.
“One of the components of art collecting is doing research,” Iveta Manasherova says. “We know from  experience how difficult it can be to gain access to the desired materials. Scholarly effort is not always evident: often only the result can be seen. What is obvious, however, is that the very process of this painstaking preliminary work is the most critical and demanding stage: it is based on this effort that scholarly breakthroughs are made and remarkable exhibition projects created. We hope that the new Foundation's program will enable the Tretyakov researchers to make their most ambitious projects come to fruition, and we will be happy to contribute to the development and geography expansion of their studies.”

In 2017, seven applications were submitted for the grants. Curiously, several of the applicants expressed the desire to do research at the I. V. Savitsky Karakalpak State Museum of Arts (Nukus, Uzbekistan). Beside Uzbekistan, the academic interest of the Tretyakov staff focused on the work and life of Russian artists in Europe and America: Vitaly Komar, Alexander Melamid, and Vasily Vereshchagin in the U.S., Aleksandr Deyneka in Italy, and Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova in France.

The first beneficiaries of the program were Irina Pronina, Research Associate at the 1st Half of the 20th Century Painting Department, and Yevgeniya Ilyukhina, Deputy Head of the 18th — Early 20th Century Graphics Department. The recipients' names were announced during the award ceremony, which took place on March 3, 2017 at the Mikhail Vrubel Hall of the Tretyakov Gallery main building on Lavrushinsky Lane.

Yevgeniya Ilyukhina, Deputy Head of the 18th — Early 20th Century Graphics Department

Yevgeniya Ilyukhina applied for a grant to cover her trip to the Pompidou Center to study the work of Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova in France. This project will become an important step in the preparation of a broad retrospective of Mikhail Larionov, slated to be held at the Tretyakov Gallery in the fall of 2018.

The focus of Irina Pronina's research is the oeuvre of Pavel Filonov, as well as of Ivan Kudryashov — a less known but no less significant representative of the Russian avant-garde. The purpose of her planned trip to the Uzbek city of Nukus is to study Kudryashov's paintings and drawings. Ivan Kudryashov (18961972) was a prominent Russian avant-garde artist, a disciple of Kazimir Malevich, head of the city of Orenburg's UNOVIS (“Asserters of the New Art”), an active member of the OST association (“The Society of Easel Painters”).

Having been prohibited since the end of the 1920s from participating in Moscow artists' exhibitions, for the rest of his life Kudryashov had continued expressing in art his interest in the creative exploration of the subject of outer space and the search for new forms of plasticity language in painting. Most of his works (over 350 paintings and drawings) are kept at the Nukus museum, and only few of them so far have been published. Thus, the grant will likely enable scholars to add another master's name to the Russian avant-garde pantheon.

Thanks to the joint effort of the U-Art Foundation and the Tretyakov Gallery, several large-scale art events have already become reality, such as Oskar Rabin's retrospective The Three Lives (2008), the exhibition Lado Gudiashvili. The Paris Years: 1920−1925 (2009), and the annual international chamber music festival Vivarte. The new endowment program constitutes another important juncture in the continuing partnership of the Foundation and the Gallery.

The grant award ceremony at the Mikhail Vrubel Hall


The Tretyakov Gallery

The I. V. Savitsky Museum of Arts (Uzbekistan)

The Pompidou Center (Paris, France)

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