OBITUARY: Dmitry Krasnopevtsev

Dmitry Krasnopevtsev was one of the most important modern Russian artists from the 1960s to the 1980s. His art, though totally apolitical, was banned by both Nikita Khrushchev's and Leonid Brezhnev's cultural censors; but it was recognised by museums in the West, especially in the United States, and eventually by his own country.

He became an overnight celebrity in 1956 when Life magazine reproduced one of his still-life paintings. Khrushchev's cultural machine went immediately into action. Krasnopevtsev was thrown out of the Artists' Union, lost his state workshop, all his orders from publishers and any chance of an exhibition. Newspapers attacked him and called him a "traitor".

Krasnopevtsev became virtually a recluse at his two-room flat at Ostozhenka (Metrostroyevskaya Street), in the centre of Moscow, where many artists lived and worked. In 1967 the Museum of Modern Art, New York, bought several of his paintings; in 1988, he had one-man shows at the New Jersey Museum of Contemporary Art, and at the Moscow Central House of Artists, one of the most prestigious places for a Russian artist. Two years ago the Pushkin Museum of Fine Art exhibited his work - an honour rarely given to an artist in his lifetime.

Krasnopevtsev was a Francophile. His flat at his second address in Moscow, at Cheryomushky, was filled with French books, pictures, photographs and a huge map of Paris which, said his friends, he knew as if he lived there. In fact he had never been to Paris and spoke neither French nor any other foreign language.

In 1968 Alexander Glezer, his agent, organised an exhibition of dissident artists in Moscow, which included three paintings by Krasnopevtsev. The same day three members of the Moscow City Party Committee came and banned all three works. One painting showed a jug with a plant. But the plant emerged not through the jug's mouth but from the wall. Glezer asked why Krasnopevtsev's work had been banned. "Oh, come on," the commissars answered. "It's quite clear, he wanted to show that, despite all our bans, they - dissident artists - will get through anyway."

Krasnopevtsev lived modestly. Most of his foreign currency he received for his work was taken by the State. Under Mikhail Gorbachev, the State finally recognised him, and two books were written about him and published by state publishing houses in Moscow which used to forbid even mentioning him in books about other artists.

Jeanne Vronskaya

Dmitry Krasnopevtsev, artist: born Moscow 1924; died Moscow 1 March 1995.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent