Artist’s Widow, Kyiv
D. Horbachov, Kyiv
Alexander Bogomazov – TEFAF, Maastricht, 11–20 March 2016, p.31(ill.)
From Utopia to Tragedy, Ukrainian Avant-Garde 1914-1934 – TEFAF, Maastricht, 10-19 March 2017, p.15 (ill.)
Postponed Futures, GRAD Gallery, London, 26 April – 24 June 2017, p.45 (ill.)
Alexander Bogomazov, the Lost Futurist – TEFAF, Maastricht, 16 – 24 March 2019, p.27 (ill.)
Oleksandr Bohomazov, Ukrainian Renaissance features a number of portraits of the artist’s wife, Wanda. Wanda in Profile is perhaps the most sparse and minimal work. However, despite the fleeting contact between charcoal and paper, it is an extraordinary rendering of tenderness and intimacy between husband and wife. Bohomazov met his future bride at the Institute of Art in Kyiv and for five long years he struggled to woo her. When they did finally marry in 1913, he was propelled into his most fruitful and innovative period. Wanda was not simply a beautiful muse, but rather a companion who created new-found stability and domestic bliss for Bohomazov, who had struggled through familial rifts and bouts of depression. Unquestionably, the fervour of their romance and marriage facilitated exciting aesthetic experimentation.
Bohomazov uses only very few strokes in this case to create a masterfully pared-back depiction of his beloved wife in a candid moment. Although this drawing captures a single moment in time, the thick black lines around the figure generate a sense of dynamism and transform the work into a tiny vignette of Wanda coyly turning away from the artist. Although she avoids directly meeting our gaze, we see her profile; her mouth curled into a slight smile, her eyes softly closed, a rounded cheek, and the whisps of a few stray hairs. Bohomazov is clearly infatuated and can hardly tear his eyes away from her flawless features – far less attention is paid to her clothes and upper body and the detail dissolves outwards into blank paper, with just a few bold lines to flesh out her overall form.
Text by Jasper Maughan