The exhibition “Wives,” the Museum of Russian Impressionism, brings together more than 40 paintings, drawings and sculptures. We see portraits of Russian artists’ wives from the 1880s to the middle of the twentieth century: from realism through avant-garde to Soviet neoclassicism.
While working in the genre “a wife’s portrait,” the artist is free from limitations and able to create a piece of work based only on his vision, therefore the exhibited portraits keep the trace of love and perfection. A wife is the most understanding and patient life model for an artist.
Isaak Brodsky, 1883-1939. Portrait of Lyubov Brodsky, 1916
Boris Grigoriev, 1886-1939, Mother and Child, 1918
Behind every portrait is a story of love, jealousy and passion, disappointment and hope. Not all the exhibition’s heroines were destined to live long and happy life with their artist husbands. Now we can see the women who were muses, friends and colleges of the famous Russian artists.
“For five whole years, from 1909 to 1914, I didn’t touch a brush, having been under the spell of the pen… My former mastery disappeared and I had to restore it by doing new exercises and by my hard work. After making a number of such studies, I began to work on a large group portrait. At the same table where, in 1904, morning tea was served, in the same lilac-lined alley which had become very overgrown in ten years, I placed the same girls of the Meshcherin family whose group portrait under the birch trees I had not completed back then. They had also grown in those ten years and one of them, the redhead had become my wife. She sat on the bench and her sister sat on the table, among a pile of cornflowers. I painted that portrait all summer, simultaneously unfinished and refinished,”Igor Grabar.
The exhibition is dedicated to all artists wives!