Anatoli Zverev, Portrait of a Woman



Each painting in the Brochetain Collection has a story, a life, a destiny which is often genuinely tragic. This tragic quality can be glimpsed in the character of another underground painter, Anatoli Zverev. Everything in his personal life and his artistic expression tells of his great talent and his no less great and particularly Russian urge to self-destruct. "If the world was suffering, he had to know that he was living out the same experience as the most miserable sinner living out the most humiliating and base existence." thinks the art critic, Galina Manevitch. "It was, I believe, one of the principles by which he lived his life". Penniless and miserable, his bohemian lifestyle of carnavalesque fantasy engendered a form of graphic and pictorial expression whose complexity demanded a further talent, that of improvisation. Incontestably, Zverev was a great master of improvisation. Thrown out of art school this, "failure" received a gold medal from the hands of Siquieros at the Moscow Youth Festival in 1957 for a composition that he had improvised before the jury in an instant. The bureaucrats of the Arts did all they could to obliterate the memory of this event and rejected him from the official scene, but from that moment onwards Zverev was a myth and became the idol of the artistic elite.


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