About artistic emigration from Russia to the West (1920-1950s)
Russian Russian emigration’s artistic heritage is still an important issue in the concept of the development of Russian art in the XX century. The contribution of individual representatives has not yet been sufficiently studied, as it is often complicated by the disparity of collections-the exhibits not only adorn the collections of museums in Europe or the United States, but also are in private collections, from time to time becoming the top positions of the world’s leading auction houses.
The artistic process after the Revolution of 1917 was torn in two – part remained in Russia, the other began to develop in emigration. It is impossible to say unequivocally that there were no analogues in the world history of art of such a mass Exodus until now. There were many examples of artists working in a different national environment, and one of them is the formation of the international Paris school. However, for artists from other countries, participation in it can only be considered a line in their personal biography. Russian artists who were exiles in captivity, victims of historical conflicts, “took Russia with them”, continuing to create, reproducing the motives learned at Home, remaining students of their “school”. Therefore, their work is an integral part of Russian culture, an essential part of the national artistic heritage.
The history of Europe remembers more than one mass movement of population from East to West and back: whether it was caused by The Great French Bourgeois revolution or the Napoleonic wars, the fall of Constantinople under the onslaught of the Turks, or even the Crusades. But, perhaps, none of them was associated with such a mass Exodus of representatives of the highest aristocracy, various layers of the intelligentsia, which include people of creative professions: writers, actors, musicians, artists.
In this movement, for the art historian, the most interesting is the bright and multifaceted flow of representatives of the world of “fine arts”. The term artistic emigration in this work will only be understood by Russian artists, since the work is dedicated to emigrant artists.
Tolstoy A.V., who devoted his dissertation to this problem, conditionally identifies three waves in the history of Russian emigration in the XX century:
• the first wave occurs in the late 1910s and all of the 1920s;
• the second-for the first years after the end of the Second world war (this flow consisted mainly of hijacked occupiers and so-called ” displaced persons»);
• the third ” wave “(late 1960s-mid – 1980s)-the era of” stagnation”, when the country left the opposition, non – conformists and dissidents, as well as those who, while already abroad, were deprived of Soviet citizenship for disagreement with the Soviet regime .
The first wave of emigration is the most ambitious and, in the context of the development of Russian culture, the most dramatic. During these years, the pre-revolutionary elite, who feared reprisals, left the country. We will limit ourselves to a small list of famous names, deliberately narrowing the topic of our research to key representatives: A. N. and N. A. Benoit, K. A. Somov, S. Yu. Sudeikin, B. D. Grigoriev, M. Z. Chagall, P. V. Chelishchev, N. K. Roerich, V. V. Kandinsky. What trace did they leave in the history of art?
Figures Of the “world of art” were again in fashion. A. N. Benoit, L. S. Bakst, M. V. Dobuzhinsky, N. S. Goncharova were able to continue their participation in Opera and ballet productions abroad as part of the”Russian seasons”.
The art of theatrical scenery and costumes in Paris, shone, S. Yu Sudeikin, and in Berlin by B. D. Grigoriev.
The refined master of gallant scenes, K. A. Somov, who drew inspiration “beyond the past days”, became famous throughout Europe.
After Modigliani’s death, M. Z. Chagall became the leader of the so-called “Paris school”.
P. V. Chelishchev anticipated Dali, Breton, Magritte and all the other Surrealists recognized in our days by almost a decade, starting to make his surreal paintings-deceptions.
Russian performances in the design of N. K. Roerich caused applause in new York, and in the eyes of the American elite, the artist had a reputation as a guru and soothsayer. The work of V. V. Kandinsky (as well as M. Z. Chagall) has become a part of world culture.
Thus, the pre-revolutionary masters, after leaving their homeland, gave birth to a unique phenomenon that A. Bitov, speaking of V. Nabokov, called “a planted branch of Russian culture”, which undoubtedly tragically drained the very tree of this culture.
The art of Soviet Russia has lost not only powerful individual talents: the birth of culturally-conditioned pan-European stages, stages of trends, has stopped naturally the development of a living artistic organism . If we talk about the “world of art” alone, it almost completely turned out to be abroad. In totalitarian, socially-oriented Soviet Russia, refined beauty no longer had a place. In Dostoevsky, it saved the world, but now it was leaving it, driven abroad by the instinct of self-preservation.