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Mikhail Koulakov
Nude (abstract woman)

1963

$800

About

Mikhail Koulakov (1933-2015). Nude, 1963-64. Ink on paper, sheet measures 12 x 16.5 inches. Sheet is glued down in corner to a cardboard panel measuring 19 x 24 inches. Excellent conditions. Annotated in Russian en verso. Unframed. Mikhail Kulakov is a Soviet and Italian artist. Kulakov was born on January 8, 1933 in Moscow. Mikhail Kulakov studied in the Moscow Institute of International Relations for two years. In the period from 1959 to 1963 Kulakov studied at the N. K. Cherkasov State Institute of Theater, Music, and Cinematography (Production Department) in Leningrad. In 1976 he emigrated to Italy. He lived in San Vito di Narni, where he was buried on February 15, 2015. In 1984 he was awarded the title of Honored Member of the Academy of Fine Arts «Pietro Vannucci» in Perugia. In 2003 he received the gold medal of the XXVII International Emigration Award (XXVII Premio Internazionale «Emigratione»), Pratola Peligna, Italy. Kulakov’s paintings are in the collections of the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts as well as in museums in the USA and Italy. Mosaic panels by Kulakov decorate two metro stations in Rome. Kulakov is one of the brightest artists of his time. His work reflects the trends that shaped Russian art in the period from the early 1950s to the early 1960s, which was characterised by openness and cultural liberalization. Kulakov was one of the first to exhibit bold abstract paintings at apartment exhibitions popular at that time. This provoked attacks on Kulakov in the press. Fearing arrest, he fled to Leningrad and later to Italy, where he spent half of his life and died in 2015 at the age of 82. In his Moscow period, Kulakov was one of the first to sense the ideological trends of the Thaw and develop their visual equivalents. Creative impulse, vitality, intuitivism, the cult of chance and improvisation, attempts to cast off the past — these features underpinned Kulakov’s creative process. With his works vividly demonstrating the trends that dominated the culture during the Thaw decade, Kulakov became a perfect exemplar of that time. According to curator Andrey Erofeev’s concept «The Style of the Thaw Period» can be considered as consisting of two sections — abstraction and symbolism. The exhibition encompasses more than 140 works by Kulakov as well as pieces by other Russian artists. Mikhail Kulakov’s paintings represent two trends characteristic of the Thaw culture. First, reflected in his paintings was Soviet artists’ fascination with the latest achievements of American art, particularly Action Painting and Abstract Expressionism, as well as the style of Tachisme, which originated in Western Europe. Presented in the halls in the left part of the museum are 40 paintings by Mikhail Kulakov and by other abstract artists from the 1950s and 1960s, such as Vladimir Slepyan, Boris Turetsky, Oleg Prokofiev, Valery Yurlov, Lev Kropivnitsky, Vladimir Yakovlev, Nikolai Vechtomov and Kulakov’s close friend Evgeny Mikhnov-Voitenko. Another trend dominating Soviet art of that time was the search for tools to express religious feeling. Aiming to restore theology and religious art to their place in culture, the artists of this trend drew on the national legacy; at the same they had enough courage to try to reinvent the traditions of Orthodox painting. Having reduced the canons of icon painting to a mark, they focused on searching for pictorial equivalents of «spirituality». The halls in the right part of the museum feature works by Kulakov as a religious artist (he referred to them as ARTE SACRA) as well as pieces by Russian artists who working underground developed religious themes in graphics and painting. Mikhail Kulakov’s work conceptually and visually embodies both abstract and religious trends, which were the key features of the art of the Thaw. Mikhail Kulakov is a Soviet and Italian artist. Kulakov was born on January 8, 1933 in Moscow. Mikhail Kulakov studied in the Moscow Institute of International Relations for two years. In the period from 1959 to 1963 Kulakov studied at the N. K. Cherkasov State Institute of Theater, Music, and Cinematography (Production Department) in Leningrad. In 1976 he emigrated to Italy. He lived in San Vito di Narni, where he was buried on February 15, 2015. In 1984 he was awarded the title of Honored Member of the Academy of Fine Arts «Pietro Vannucci» in Perugia. In 2003 he received the gold medal of the XXVII International Emigration Award (XXVII Premio Internazionale «Emigratione»), Pratola Peligna, Italy. Kulakov’s paintings are in the collections of the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts as well as in museums in the USA and Italy. Mosaic panels by Kulakov decorate two metro stations in Rome.

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