On 4 December 2009 at 3:00 pm in the Gala halls of the Museum of the Academy of Arts, the "Fathers and Sons” exhibition will open, devoted to 90th anniversary of distinguished masters from St Petersburg - Pyotr Timofeyevich Fomin and Vyacheslav Frantsevich Zagonek. Besides the works of these artists, the exhibition will display the works of their sons – the teachers of St Petersburg Repin Academic Institute – Nikita Petrovich Fomin and Vladimir Vyacheslavovich Zagonek.
There is much in common in the biographies of P. T. Fomin and V. F. Zagonek – both of them developed an inclination to artistic expression in their childhoods, both went to war and entered the Academy of Arts on their return, becoming the students of Leningrad Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Then they spent many years teaching. They are the artists of the same generation. The sufferings that they underwent in their youth were the life experience that forms personality, lays foundations of world outlook and becomes an inexhaustible source of artistic inspiration.
Service to the art became not only they lifework, but the model for younger generation. Nikita Petrovich Fomin and Vladimir Vyacheslavovich Zagonek are the graduates of Repin Institute too and teach there now. The idea of the exhibition belongs to them. On display in Rafael, Titian and Catherine halls of the museum there will be about one hundred fifty paintings from family collections and the State Russian Museum. Visitors will be also able to see study unique documents and photographs from family archives.
The works by Pyotr Timofeyevich Fomin (1919-1996) will be displayed in Rafael hall. In the course of his life the artist turned to various genres – from portrait to a historical everyday life picture. But it is a lyrical Russian landscape that particularly reveals deep, philosophical essence of P. T. Fomin’s art. In a simple and routine scene the artist is able to see and convey unshowy beauty of his motherland. Fomin’s landscapes show all aspects of the genre: seaside and northern countryside, mid-Russian fields and woods, industrial landscape and the architecture of St Petersburg, canals of Venice and unpretentious beauty of old Russian towns. Fomin paid much attention to pictorial texture and used various painting techniques depending on the character of the landscape. Some landscapes are painted with fine, continuous strokes, in others – the impact of the selected theme is intensified by solidly applied paint. P. T. Fomin’s whole life story is tremendous tireless labor: working from life and in studio, exhibitions, teaching. Many of his students, both Russian and foreign, became famous artists. But the main outcome of his artistic life is his lively lyrical works.
One can clearly trace an obvious continuity of traditions – although artistic methods are different – in the exhibited works of Nikita Petrovich Fomin. His distinctive feature is seeking to arrange the composition on the canvas in a clear and structural manner, combined with inclination for realistic traditions of Russian landscape painting. His works are characterized by express architectonics, careful selection of the theme and accurate application of color. Artistic works organically reveal an emotional origin, while in some landscapes one can see a complex combination of a clearly defined drawing and silhouette with simultaneous pictorial "instability” of forms that is so fascinating. He is continually searching, thinking and doubting, as "painting is thinking with a brush in one’s hand", and he aspires to express his peculiar perception of the reality around us. It does not matter where he creates his works – whether it is St Petersburg, Paris, Pskov, Venice or Rome – he continues to be an artist from St Petersburg in the sense of this word embracing professional excellence and deep study of his predecessors’ art.
In Titian hall the works of Vyacheslav Frantsevich Zagonek (1919-1994), will be exhibited provided by the artist’s family and the State Russian Museum (“Morning” 1958-60, “Thunderstorm has passed” 1960-61, “Bird cherry tree in blossom” 1962-64). His pictures reproduce the poetic image of our recent history – 50-80s of the last century. In Zagonek’s lifetime many critics believed the landscape to be his main genre. The artist himself did not agree with this opinion. Although his deep, originally expressed feeling of the beauty of nature does determine the charm of all the master’s canvases, it is the heroes of his time who play the main part in many of his pictures, it is their eyes with which the spectator sees, their images that spiritualize the scenes of peasants’ labor and everyday life. Retaining the characteristic style of Russian painting of 1960-70s, V. F. Zagonek’s pictures attract with their “agitated and somewhat sharp rhythm, harmony of light colors and somewhat graphical and at the same time decorative language”. “In my paintings”, the artist said, “I have always wanted to convey my admiration for the constantly changing scenery of my homeland, as well as that for my contemporaries – people of labor; I have wanted to convey their inseparable connection to nature, their spiritual beauty. I have always been looking for the poetic aspect of multifaceted reality”.
In Catherine Hall of the museum visitors will be able to see the works by Vladimir Vyacheslavovich Zagonek. To follow his father’s artistic advice and at the same time take its own artistic way – these two circumstances have to a large extent defined the variety of the artist’s creative interests and his search for his own artistic language. In the 1980s V. Zagonek starts to pursue still life painting which remains his favorite genre until now. It is in the still life where the painter strives to address professional challenges he is currently concerned about: peculiar composition “design”, exceptional emotional intensity of the painting pictorial tune and plastic interrelation between the objects comprising a still life. There are a lot of antiques in the artist’s works. They accumulate and store the energy of the past.Chinese fans, pearl shells, brass jugs, musical instruments – all these things are deeply symbolical and bear a stamp of historicism. Using rich possibilities of pictorial language and surface technique, the artist in these works achieves the solution of a complicated task of creating a mysterious magical world of animate and inanimate nature, making the painting a precious one, when it seems to be woven of finest color shades.
There is no idea of comparison underlying the concept of the exhibition. It demonstrates the continuity of Petersburg artistic school, notwithstanding the differences if artistic methods, languages and world outlook.
The exhibition will be open until 20 December 2009.