The Russians are Coming

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The Economist takes a close look at the boom in Russian Art investing in this article. Anyone interested in investing in Russian works should read it. Here’s an excerpt:

As if in belated confirmation of his patriotism, Russian art is experiencing a boom. There have always been paintings by Russian artists on sale in other categories—the works of Chagall, Jawlensky, Kandinsky and Malevich, for example, are everywhere. But the recent rapid rise of wealth among Russia’s leading industrialists and businessmen has caused a sudden explosion of this niche interest.

While the article does give great insight into the forces at work in the Russian art market, the author gives a bit of a slanted image of what soviet art was. He writes, “Then came the 1930s, when everything except Socialist Realism was outlawed, filling rooms with portraits of Stalin and rosy-cheeked peasants. Russian art stagnated.” Strangely, at a time when much of Russian art and culture did suffer under the reigns of Stalin’s regime, the Russian Realist tradition had something of a renaissance. After a period of strictly regulating art, Stalin, in an effort to build up an intellectual elite for the country, established state funded artist colonies, providing abundant resources for a community of artists who were often secretly defiant. Stalin’s intent may have been to develop a new, distinctly socialist art, but his desire for international respect led him to found this school on the principles of the Russian Realists. The school’s deep roots preserved it from Stalin’s intentions and held through the fall of the Soviet Union and into the present.

You can find the full article here.

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Author: Barry O'Keefe

Artist/printmaker from Richmond, Va

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