Oleg Tselkov
BORN 1931

Another important Non-conformist, whose work is difficult to characterise, Tselkov studied in Moscow at the Arts Lyceum between 1949 and 1953 and at the Academy of Arts in Leningrad, from which he was expelled.

Moving to Moscow, he had his first exhibition in 1956 in the flat of Vladimir Slepyan. Later, in 1966, his exhibition at the Kurchatov Institute was closed as it was deemed ideologically unacceptable. In this period, Tselkov’s flat became something of a magnet for visiting dignitaries including Arthur Miller, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Renato Guttuso, Lilya Brik, Anna Akhmatova, Joseph Brodsky, Louis Aragon, and Pablo Neruda.

Tselkov ‘quit’ the Soviet Union in 1977, settling in Paris but, after 1991, his work became celebrated both at home and abroad. In 2004 he had personal exhibitions at both the Tretyakov Gallery and the Russian Museum.