Lives of the Artists XII

Grigori Ulko, a Russian artist living in Samarcand, related to me the following anecdote: The Russian artists who lived in Samarcand during the war – many of them famous names – each presented a work to the local artists’ union as a token of thanks. The head of the Samarcand union in the post-war years, unwilling to take responsibility for all these paintings and drawings, which bore a high nominal value and required looking after, organised a commission to write them off. This done, he made a bonfire of the lot.

Matthew Cullerne Bown, “Painting in the non-Russian republics”, in M. C. Bown & B. Taylor, Art of the Soviets: Painting, sculpture and architecture in a one-party state, 1917-1992, Manchester University Press, 1993.


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