Press-Release: From Utopia to Tragedy. Ukrainian Avant-Garde 1914-34

James Butterwick is back on Stand 709 at this year’s TEFAF Maastricht (March 10-19) with another show spotlighting brilliant but unfamiliar artists.

From Utopia to Tragedy. Ukrainian Avant-Garde 1914-34 focuses on the dynamic, close-knot creative community that exploded in Kharkov during the city’s brief stint as capital of Soviet Ukraine (1919-34). There will be five works by Boris Kosarev, led by his 1921 Portrait of Picasso, shown at the 2012 Kosarev retrospective in New York alongside his twin portrait of Futurist poet Velimir Khlebnikov…whose muse Maria Sinyakova is represented by five works ranging from Tree of Life (1914) and Carousel (1916) in her Primitivist style to exquisite versions of her 1920s Venus and Washerwomen, made for art historian Dmytro Horbachov when she was over 80.

There will be a colourful 1928 costume sketch for Puccini’s opera Turandot by Anatoly Petritsky – whose ‘heavy, roughly angular but lively style’ was lauded by the Corriere della Sera at the 1930 Venice Biennale – and Vasily Ermilov’s important Design for a Recreation Room in the Kharkov Palace of Pioneers and Octobrists, formerly in the collection of the late Sotheby’s owner Alfred Taubman. The ‘Palace’ – an avant-garde culture venue – opened in 1935 but was destroyed by the Nazis.

Humour and satire characterize Waiting-Room by Alexander Khvostenko-Khvostov, who studied with Korovin and Exter; Market Porter by Sergei Yutkevich, a talented draughtsman before his career in cinema (twice voted Best Director at Cannes); a whimsical 1931 book illustration by Alexander Dovgal; and two George Grosz-like interiors by Semyon Salzer.

A rare Archipenko still life, and three works by the ‘Ukrainian Picasso’ Alexander Bogomazov – including an exciting charcoal Carafe & Glass on a Mirror from 1915 – will complete the display.