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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before