Leikind O.L., Makhrov K.W., Severjukhin D.Y.
"Russian Artists in Exile Reference Book (1917-1939)"
St.Petersburg: "NotaBene" Publishers,
1999, -720 pp. [in Russian]
ISBN 5-87170-110-8
Reviewed by Bulat M. Galeyev
Russia. E-mail: galeyev@prometey.kcn.ru

Those who lived and still living in the West might not understand the pathos of this book. Each artist here, in the West, is free to choose and change the country to live and work in. The reviewed book is about Russian artists who had appeared in the West in exile. It presents information on the artists belonged to the so-called first emigration wave, who were forced to leave Russia and stay abroad after revolution of 1917. Somebody left native country in the course of White Guard Army retreat, others set off later, during the years 1920-25, when the euphory of revolutionary changes in art had abated and in the place of tsarist autocracy there came Red dictatorship, and art got under severe control. At any case, a lot of more or less famous Russian artists appeared to be in exile. The book provides information on 750 of them.

For the first time the biographical data on the life and work of these artists are given in such extent and details. The authors collected information from both early Russian sources and present-day foreign ones of various countries - Russian emigrants were dispersed all around the world: in Europe, China, Northern and Southern America.

Let's present here in short, in Russian alphabetical order, the personalities connected with interdisciplinary subject-matter, the most interesting for us - "Art, Science, Technology".

- Alexeieff A. (1901-1982) - graphic artist and producer; emigtated to France. He was a forerunner of computer animation, inventor of famous "needle-shaped screen" with a raster of pin pixels (1930). He made some films (including that on musical theme).

- Annenkoff Yu.P. (1898-1974) - a painter and scenographer. He experimented with moving "rhytmic scenery" in Russia in 1920-s.

- Arkhipenko A.P. (1887-1964) - a sculptor. After emigration to USA, he invented "archipeture" (a mechanism to create illusion of graphic objects moving at a given speed and rhythm) and "light modulators" (semi-transparent plexiglass sculptures, illuminated from inside).

- Baranoff-Rossine V.D. (1888-1944) - a painter. As early as before revolution he invented light-piano "optophon", and performed light concerts using this instrument (first in Moscow, then, since 1925, in Paris). Perished in Nazi concentration camp.

- Bilinsky B.K. (1900-1948). After emigration in 1918, he worked in the field of theatre and cinema art, in Italy, Germany, France. During 1940-s made a series of albums "Music in Colors" inspired by the works of C.Debussy, M.Ravel, F.Chopin, I.S.Bach. His intention to make film under the same title at Disney's studio remained unrealized.

- Vassilieffa M.V. (1884-1957) - a painter, applied artist, scenographer. While living in France, she made shining costumes for the performance "Sonet of Vowels" (1937), on the motiffs of Rembaut's poems.

- Gabo N. (pseudonim; real name is Pevsner N.) (1890-1977) - the author of abstract sculpures, one of the leaders of constructivism and kinetic art. A brother of A.Pevsner. Worked in Germany, France, since 1946 in USA.

- Gritchenko A.V. (1883-1977) - painter and art critic. Studied the laws of color perception. Had arranged exhibition "Light dynamics and tectonic primitivism" in Moscow, 1919. Emigrated to France.

- Kandinsky W.W. (1866-1944) - the founder of abstract art, the author of of libretto of abstract scene composition "Yellow Sound" (1912). Firstly he realized his idea of synthesis of moving scenery, music and gesture in the performance "Pictures from Exhibition" by Musorgsky (Germany, "Bauhause", 1928). Died in 1944 in France.

- Pevsner A. (1844-1962) - sculptor and painter. An elder brother of Naum Gabo and a friend of Archipenko. He was an author (together with his brother) of "Realistic Manifesto", the Bible of constructivism. The author of many abstract metallic sculptures.

- Strgeminski V.M. (1893-1952) - painter and graphic artist. In 1948-49 he made a series of the so-called "solaristic" paintings, where he used the effect of residual image of the eye. Author of the book "Theory of Sight".

- Survage L. (1879-1968). Son of Finn and Dane (Moscow citizens), a painter. Since 1909 lived in Paris. In 1912-14 he worked up a series of pictures in water-colours "Rhythm in Color", trying to animate his abstract composition using cinema technique. He exhibited these works in New York Modern Art Museum, 1939.

- Sharshoune S.W. (1888-1975). Since his youth he lived in Paris and stayed there after revolution. Since 1940 he began to work in abstract manner, turning to musical themes. Author of paintings "Pastoral N 2 by Bethooven", "Concert of Bach", "Shopin. Sylphs", "Scriabin. Sonata N 6".

In this book, beside text and illustration, there should be mentioned the valuable analytical introduction written by D.Severjuhin, and especially - carefully collected extentsive bibliography of each personality, in various languages.


Published in "Leonardo Digital Reviews", 2000, September