Boris Kasatkin. Paintings from Russian museums and private collections

An exhibition of Boris Kasatkin organized by IN ARTIBUS foundation is the second part of a project devoted to Moscow school of painting. The first in this series was a jubilee exhibition of Vladimir Weisberg (2014); the third one will be focused on Ilya Mashkov's art.

  • Boris Kasatkin. Paintings from Russian museums and private collections
    Self-portrait by the window. 2014. Oil on canvas
  • Boris Kasatkin. Paintings from Russian museums and private collections
    Vertical. “City”. 2014. Oil on canvas
  • Boris Kasatkin. Paintings from Russian museums and private collections
    Chinese still life with a carpet. 2011. Oil on canvas
  • Boris Kasatkin. Paintings from Russian museums and private collections
    Nude with a tapestry and a carpet. 2013. Oil on canvas. Collection of E. Khlopina, Moscow
  • Boris Kasatkin. Paintings from Russian museums and private collections
    Roses on the white. 2011. Oil on canvas
  • Boris Kasatkin. Paintings from Russian museums and private collections
    Chromatic still life. “Tribute to Mashkov”. 2000. Oil on canvas. Collection of Volgograd Museum of Fine Arts

Boris Kasatkin (b. 1944) is a Moscow artist. Technically, his professional education started at the Moscow School of Arts (1958–61) and continued at the Stroganov Academy of Arts (1962). The year 1966 became a turning in his life, when he began to study with Vladimir Weisberg and has formed as a professional under his guidance. Currently he lives and works in Moscow. The upcoming exhibition includes works directly from the artist's studio as well as from private collections and Russian museums (State Tretyakov Gallery, Arkhangelsk Museum of Arts, Volgograd Museum of Fine Arts, Vologda State Museum-Preserve, Perm State Art Gallery).

For the viewer, this exhibition is a rare and, to some extent, unique opportunity to get a complete picture of Boris Kasatkin's painting. Though he is well known among professionals — colleagues, art historians, collectors — until now he remained dramatically undiscovered by a wider audience. The exposition has been designed by the artist humself, which makes this show an exhibition from the first-person perspective.

One hundered paintings demonstrate all periods of Kasatkin's artistic life. Quite a few of them are Moscow landscapes of 1960-80s. Courtyards, embankments, park alcoves, the sky and the clouds: no place is represented “literally”, but each one of Kasatkin's landscapes is easily recognizeable. The light and the air which come from the painterly surface of his works undoubtedly belong to Moscow. By the end of 1980s, the bright plein-air gives way to a sort of a “white period” — which is totally logical for a student of Weisberg. Late 1980s and 90s are the years of analytical work in the studio. Famous “Weisberg” shelves, plaster figures, recognizeable from the works of the great master of painting, continue their exhistance in Kasatkin's studio. Today, he keeps painting them.

Each period of Kasatkin's artistic development is not distinctively different from the previous: it is a smooth evolution, submissed to natural inner impulses; the stairs of his artistic development are shallow but lead straight upwards. More than 50 years of his life Kasatkin practices nothing but painting: every day, sufficient amount of hours. If one with outstanding abilities follows this way, they would result in a level of mastery as high as appearing too much for nowadays. Kasatkin's painting is not for a mass viewer, however, there is no lack of connoisseurs anytime.

Within a narrowed field of classic genres (Kasatkin prefers the term “plastic themes”) consisting of only three parts — still life, portrait and nude — Kasatkin has been gaining the new level of painterly freedom almost unachieveable by any of his contemporaries. Evolutionary way, natural for an artist, is enriched by an opportunity of private acquaintance with world's painting tradition. Last 20 years, Kasatkin has been searching and finding his allies at museums around the globe from Stockholm to Washington. Hals and Terbrugghen, Zurbaran and Claesz Heda, Pissarro and Seurat are his teachers, colleagues, and, to some extent, his contemporaries. Kasatkin lives outside the boundaries of time, which is not difficult at all if the natural way of one's life, fully devoted to the only work, is aimed for the absolute.

Despite the fact that Kasatkin’s painting induces to talk on the sublime, the IN ARTIBUS exposition can be seen in the most human and almost domestic sense: Boris Kasatkin is simply a Moscow artist. This short definition is wholly true both topographically: the artist was born on Arbat and has never lived outside of the city centre, and typologically: he is “a representative of Moscow school of painting”, i.e. above all he is a colourist with intention to solve the problematics of the plastic in prejudice of all others — moral, psychological or social.

in artibus foundation