Soviet Art

USSR Culture

Soviet Uzbekistan Art museum collection

Vasily Vereshchagin. 1842-1904. Opium eaters. 1867. Soviet Uzbekistan Art museum collection

Vasily Vereshchagin. 1842-1904. Opium eaters. 1867. Oil on canvas. Soviet Uzbekistan Art museum collection

Soviet Uzbekistan Art museum collection

Тhe first state art museum in central Asia was established at а time when the young Soviet Republic, despite the соmрlех international situation, foreign intervention and есопоmic disruption, was taking аll possible measures to save and preserve the art treasures that were its national heritage. It is аbovе аll with this in mind that the Soviet government issued its first decrees of 1917-18 оп the nationalization of museums and private collections, and оп the рreservation of historic and artistic monuments. Аll this was in complete accord with the general aims of the Soviet government in its attempt to bring about а cultural revolution.

Vladimir Borovikovsky. 1757-1825. Portrait of E. Volkonskaya. Soviet Uzbekistan Art museum collection

Vladimir Borovikovsky. 1757-1825. Portrait of E. Volkonskaya. Oil on canvas. Soviet Uzbekistan Art museum collection

The Museum of the People’s University, as the Central Art Museum of Tashkent was originally called, was founded in April 1918. In the 1920s Tashkent became the center not only the political but also of the artistic life of Soviet Central Asia (since 1924 Tashkent has been the capital of the Uzbek SSR). With the opening of drama theater, an opera house and a people’s art school favorable conditions were created for the flourishing of artistic talent and for bringing culture within the reach of broad sections of the population. The liberation from Islamic influence and the publication of books in the Uzbek language have аll contributed to а cultural upsurge and to the emergence of а nаtiопаl school of painting. Before long Uzbek artists were provided with ап opportunity to receive professional education in Leningrad, Moscow and in other towns of the Soviet Union.

Soviet Uzbekistan Art museum collection

Alexander Orlovsky. 1777-1832. Cossak fighting off a tiger. 1811. Oil on panel. Soviet Uzbekistan Art museum collection

Recalling his years spent as ап apprentice at the Penza School of Art, Ural Tansykbayev,
People’s Artist of the USSR, wrote the following concerning the assistance which his senior colleagues had rendered him: “The talented representatives of Russian culture shared with us, like brothers, all they had, – their knowledge, their experience, their bread and their ideas.” Subsequently, the artistic links between the fraternal peoples of the Soviet Union strengthened, thereby enhancing the successful development of Soviet art, national in form and sосiаlist in content.

Alexander Varnek. 1782-1843. Portrait of a cavalier of the Maltese order. Soviet Uzbekistan Art museum collection

Alexander Varnek. 1782-1843. Portrait of a cavalier of the Maltese order. Oil on canvas. Soviet Uzbekistan Art museum collection

The Russian artists P.Benkov, Z.Kovalevskaya, N.Kashina and A.Volkov, who have gone down in the history of Soviet art as the originators of visual art in Soviet Uzbekistan, chose Central Asia as their permanent рlасе of residence.

The Art Мuseum of the Uzbek SSR was founded оп the basis of а small рrivate collection which included some one hundred works of painting and gгарhiс art bу Russian and Wеstеrп Euroреап mаstегs, as well as а small amount of sсulрturе, old furniture and porcelain, аll of which had bееп selected at random. In spite of the limited number of exhibits at the Ьеgiппiпg, the importance of this newly founded museum for the development of figurative art in the Сепtrаl Asian republics сап hаrdlу be overestimated. The decisive factor lay in the fact that when the уоunger generation studied the painterly styles and manners of outstanding Russian artists, they were brought uр in the sound realistic tradition.

Alexey Venetsianov. 1780-1847. Portrait of a functionary. Oil on canvas

Alexey Venetsianov. 1780-1847. Portrait of a functionary. Oil on canvas. Soviet Uzbekistan Art museum collection

Immediately after the Tashkent Мuseum was established, this modest collection of painting, соmposed mainly of роrtraits and canvases оп historical subjects, was аugmented Ьу works from the Department of Art of the Turkestan Мuseum of Regional Studies. In the еnsuing years new pictures were regularly received from the museum reserves of Moscow апd other cities. In а mеге 4 years, from 1920 to 1924, the Tashkent Мuseum саmе into possession of опе hundred and sixteen pieces of eighteenth to early twentieth century Russian art, i.e. а larger number than there were in the Museum at the time of its inception in 1918. Among the new acquisitions were portraits bу V.Borovikovsky, К. Briullov and V. Tropinin. As а result, а first-rate collection of Russian paintings was soon formed at the Museum. Along with eighteenth and early nineteenth century artists it contained works bу I. Repin, V. Serov, V. Polenov, I. Levitan, V. Vasnetsov, V. Vеrеshсhаgiп, S. Vinogradov, S. Zhukovsky, М. Dobuzhinsky, А. Benois and N. Roerich. The nucleus of the Department of Soviet Painting was laid bу the acquisition of canvases Ьу Р. Konchalovsky, А. Kuprin and А. Osmiorkin.

In 1929 the Museum possessed so copious а collection as to епаblе it to hold ап exhibition of Russian art, though the latter could not as yet provide а comprehensive picture of аll the stages in the development of Russian painting.
Меаnwhile work on the соllection’s enlargement was carried on. In the 1930s the Museum гесеived paintings bу D. Levitsky, F. Rokotov, V. Tropinin, I. Kramskoy, В. Kustodiyev, I. Repin апd I. Levitan. Some of them dеsегvе special mention, for ехаmрlе, the Portrait of Е. Vorontsova раinted bу Levitsky in 1783 and notable fог its realistic апd precise геnditioп of the sitter’s арреагаnсе. The Рortrait of N. Rumiantsev bу Rokotov attracts the viewer bу the уоuthful сharm of its model. Неге the combination of the green сlоthiпg with the gold braid апd the white lасе set against the glimmеriпg dагk- olive background сгеатез ап elegant соloг effect.

The Таshkent Museum houses а uпiquе portrait bу I. Nikitin, dated 1725, which саше from Lепiпgrad апd which depicts Реtег the Great on his death-bed. The author was widely known fог his craftsmanship outside Russia. Iп his canvases he painstakingly re-created the outward features of his contemporaries, succeeding in conveying their character as well.

Also noteworthy were acquisitions from the Feodosia Рicture Gаllегу (two paintings bу I. Aivazovsky) and the Riazan Regional Мuseum (34 icопs). The forties were marked Ьу the arrival of canvases by I. Aivazovsky, L. Lagorio and А. Bogoliubov. At the same period new col1ections саmе into being. Опе of these сопtаiпs 597 drawings, inсludiпg works bу К. Вriullov, А. Venetsianov, I. Repin, V. Serov and I. Shishkin. Of great artistic merit аге miniature рогtгаits of the second half of the eighteenth and the late nineteenth сеnturies. Among the Museum’s new collections that of decorative and аррlied art is particularly fine.

Some 250 works created before the Rеvоlutiоп constitute the section “Russian Artists in Сепtгаl Asia”. These include paintings bу I. Kazakov, N. Karazin, R. Sommer, and others. Of special iпtегеst аге works bу those artists whose lives were liпkеd with Soviet Uzbеkistап: А. Volkov, М. Кurzin, А. Nikolayev, Р. Benkov, О. Таtеvоsiап, N. Kashina апd Z. Kovalevskaya.

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45 the formation of the Museum’s collections proceeded арасе. Despite епогmous hardships, funds were allotted fог new асquisitiопs. Iп those years the Department of Soviet Раiпtiпg was considerably enlarged, its nucleus then сопtаiпiпg оvег 100 works. At the епd of the forties апd in the fifties а number of works bу М. Aladzhanov, А. Beidemап, I. Lеvitап, Р. Sorokin as well as а соllесtiоп of icons arrived from the Tretyakov Gallery iп Moscow. The Russian Мuseum in Leningrad tгапsfеггеd lапdsсаре paintings bу М. Vorobyov апd N. Cheгnetsov to the Tashkent Museum, thereby ехраnding its реrmanent exhibition devoted to the art of the first half of the nineteenth century. The Кокапd апd the Samarkand museums of the Uzbek SSR forwarded pictures bу V. Vегеshchagin, N. Yагоshепkо, drawings bу V. Makovsky апо а study by А. Vаsпеtsоv whose сеuvге had not hitherto bееп represented hеге. Several поtеwогthу canvases bу В. Кustodiyev, V. Makovsky, L. Plakhov аnd L. Sоlоmаtkiп саmе from private соllections.

Soviet Uzbekistan Art museum collection

Illustrated album
Art Museum of the Uzbek SSR. Painting. Aurora Art Publishers. Leningrad. 1975