Russian Oil Sketches
"At the end of the Soviet system the professional artists were left high and dry. They were given ownership of their apartments, and were left with the contents of their studios, a lifetime of paintings.
Apart from the unsold finished paintings, the studios were full of preparatory sketches. These immediate impressions of life by these highly trained artists were a revelation.
The finished, exhibited works had to be idealized to conform to Stalin's definition of Socialist Realism and except for a very few artists, this process took away all the spontaneity so apparent in the preparatory works.
www.leningradschool.com has a chronology of the Artists' Union of St Petersburg, with many of our aritsts prominent in the annual listing of exhibitions".
extract "Art in Russia" Letter from John Barkes, 2011
Illustrated: Valeri Roslyakov Loading Nickel Ore, Yenisei River 1973
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