Watercolors of Maximilian Voloshin

Pushkin State Museum, Moscow

May 19 – June 20, 2006

The exhibition Watercolors by Maximilian Voloshin was held in association with Flo Art Fund at the Museum of Private Collections, division of the museum complex of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. The 28 watercolours in the museum’s collections were donated by Mikhail Baryshnikov, the great dancer, talented photographer, founder of the Baryshnikov Arts Centre (New York) and a collector of works by Russian Artists.

Maximilian Voloshin was not only one of the key figures of the Silver Age in Russian poetry, but Koktebel’s ‘local genius’. His home in Koktebel’ in the Crimea became a Mecca for the literary circle of the time, and at different times it played host to Valery Briusov and Marina Tsvetaeva, Sergei Efron and Osip Mandel’shtam, Mikhail Bulgakov and Yevgenii Zamyatin, Kornei Chukhovskii and Vladislav Khodasevich, Andrei Belyi and Maksim Gorki.  Voloshin had broad and extensive interests: poet, art critic (advising Schukin in the acquisition of Impressionist art for his collection which was later passed on the Hermitage), philosopher, astronomer (member of the French Astronomical Society) and even a duellist (fortunately his duel with Gumilev ended without bloodshed) but one of his most interesting and important incarnations was inspired by this corner of the Crimea.

He praised “the tart valleys of Cimmeria” both in numerous texts and over a thousand watercolors. Hot Crimean air smeared with strong broad brush strokes, narrow lines of sketchy dunes painted over it, and deeper inside a confident depiction of the sea and the lonely tree... Voloshin began to paint at the age of thirty and until the end of his life he painted watercolors almost every day. After his death, his works began to follow their own destiny, as some of them became highly valuable at the time and were acquired by Mikhail Baryshnikov, who subsequently donated them to the Pushkin Museum. The exhibition at the Museum of Private Collections literally united Voloshin’s poetics images and texts; some of his works are included in the museum’s permanent collection.

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