Soviet Art

USSR Culture

Soviet artist Tahir Salakhov

Soviet artist Tahir Salakhov with his portrait of Kara Karaev. Central Exhibition Hall 'Manege', Moscow, USSR. 1962

Soviet artist Tahir Salakhov with his portrait of composer Kara Karaev. Central Exhibition Hall ‘Manege’, Moscow, USSR. 1962. Photo from the book “Tahir Salakhov. Documentary photographs.” Moscow, 2008

Soviet artist Tahir Salakhov – a teacher, professor, member of the CPSU since 1964, Member of the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan SSR (1963-1967), corresponding member (1966), the Supreme Soviet of the USSR 7-8 convocations (1966-1974), winner of the State Prize USSR (1968), People’s artist of the USSR (1973), Academician of the USSR Academy of Arts (1975), member of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Arts in 1979, Hero of Socialist Labor (1989), vice-president of the Russian Academy of Arts since 1997, member of the CPSU Central Committee in 1990-1991, laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation (2012). Tahir Teymur oglu Salakhov was born November 29, 1928 in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR, Soviet Union. The representative of Azerbaijan, where before the Great October Revolution there was virtually no easel painting, he became one of the leading Soviet artists, known public figure, teacher. He seems to represents the fate of the republic, the rise and development of which in the united family of peoples of the Soviet Union could be seen very clearly.

The Shift is Over. 1957. Oil on canvas

The Shift is Over. 1957. Oil on canvas

The painting “The Shift is Over” was the thesis work of Salakhov. Group of young men and women returning from work. They are going to meet gusty winds. The sea throws salt sprays to their faces. And gulls, touching with wings the waves like a welcome to tired, labored to the glory of people. Already in this painting is clearly marked his artistic person, demonstrated the responsible attitude to work, without which it is impossible to imagine today a real member of the USSR Academy of Arts, People’s Artist of USSR, laureate of the State Prize of the USSR Tahir Salakhov.

What is important in his work? A keen sense of modernity. Salakhov is close to the tradition of Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Deineka with his modern rhythms, expressive line, dynamic silhouette. He is influenced by Pavel Korin – especially in the portrait genre. One of the most interesting portraits of Soviet fine art – it is his “Portrait of composer Kara Karaev”, deep in meaning and talented in composition solution. The artist found his own special, doling paint, expressive and lively. Here it is impossible not to notice the influence of his teachers. But Salakhov sees in movement, developing diverse traditions of Russian and Soviet art. At the same time we see the national artist, Azerbaijani. This is an important feature of his work. Being by nature a national artist in feeling the rhythm of life, so sincerely, with all his heart is the high ideals of our time, that his work is done close to people of any nationality, it becomes international. Salakhov – an artist of modern times, a new historical community – the Soviet people.

He’s a great artist and genre painter, follower and master of easel paintings. The theme of contemporary reality, linking art with working life of the people – the main theme for the whole of Soviet art. Tahir Salakhov is constantly developing, he developed the theme of the labor of the Soviet man. Therefore, wherever his paintings were exhibited – in Moscow and Leningrad, the Ukraine and the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Siberia – everywhere they were seen as the paintings of the Soviet people close to everyone, native. Because they deeply and truly reflect what millions of Soviet people lived.

The secret of creative success of Salakhov is that his art is dear to all. It is important to convey not only the credibility of the external, superficial signs of the times, but reflect the underlying fundamentals of life. It is very difficult. But it is possible to Salakhov. Tahir Salakhov is a typical Soviet artist in the broadest sense of these words, a new type of artist, citizen and public figure. He can not live in isolation from the life of his country, do not think of himself in a circle of self-interest, in the quiet of his studio. He was a huge public figure as the first secretary of the Union of Artists. Elected delegate of XXIII, XXIV and XXV Congress of the Communist Party, deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. No coincidence that he was entrusted important sector of work – the education of young artists across the USSR.

Salakhov has an unusually attractive personality and his personal charm. Around him are always a lot of people, young people: his art is clear and close to the young. And if you ask, what attracts people to him, the opinion will certainly be unanimous: humanity. He is surprisingly good, sincere, sympathetic, broad, hospitable man. Humanity is inseparable from his art. Enough, for example, to look at his children’s portraits to immediately understand how he loves children. He works intimate, with some special understanding, a sense of childhood, imbued with a sense of special joy. They are simple, concise, and at the same time with true depth of penetration into the world of children!

Restless by nature, Salakhov traveled around the country, often went abroad. From the trips he brought his countless sketches that formed the basis of many paintings. Even the most cursory sketch he could fill with substance, meaning, emotional attitude to what he saw. And this is the most valuable quality of a true master.

Soviet artist Tahir Salakhov


Young Artist, illustrated magazine #12, 1978, #10-1988
Tahir Salakhov. Documentary photographs. Moscow, 2008