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«Uncensored»
6 September — 27 October
· Konstantin Somov.
Uncensored
Запрошуємо вас на нашу довгоочікувану виставку «Константин Сомов. Без цензури», що триватиме в Одеському художньому з 6 вересня до 27 жовтня 2019 року.

This exhibition has two main protagonists who are highly connected with Odesa. The first one is Konstantin Somov, an artist from St. Petersburg, graphic artist, illustrator, one of the founders of the society, and magazine "The world of art". The second one - is Mykhailo Braikevych, the mayor of Odesa in the late 1910s, engineer, economist, collector, patron, public figure.

Braikevych is a friend of Somov – due to this, he managed to collect one of the largest collections of the artist globally, which is now stored in the museum's collection.

This year is the 150th anniversary of Konstantin Somov, and the last exhibition of Braikevich's collection in Odesa took place 100 years ago. In September, we will show, for the first time, the works of the master from our funds. Among the exhibits are rare erotic drawings for the Book of the Marquise, a collection of frivolous French texts of the 18th century. The exhibition will complement Somov's works stored in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Dnipro, and other cities.
Konstantin Andreevich Somov was born 150 years ago and died 80 years ago. Quite a few books and articles are devoted to this artist, and yet much less is still known about Somov than the place in the history of art that he occupies suggests. However, this does not mean that he was once forgotten and is now mentioned. Despite the insignificant labels that have been happily labeled on him for more than half a century ("decadent," "emigrant," "homosexual"), he has always been on a particular account. While many artists built new theories, engaged in politics, formed associations and schools, Somov seemed to shy away from modernity, while influencing it - his art, strength, and persuasiveness of artistic expression. And this strength and effectiveness have always been challenging to bypass.

One of the most devoted admirers of Somov's art was Mikhail Vasilyevich Braikevich. He came from a poor noble family that owned an estate in the village of Popivka near Odesa. In Odesa, he studied at the gymnasium, then graduated with honors from the Institute of Railway Engineers in St. Petersburg. For many years he successfully built railways and complex port facilities throughout the Russian Empire, thanks to which he earned a fortune and gained recognition as a politician.
Konstantin Somov
"The most refined and best man in the world," was the name of the St. Petersburg artist Somov's contemporaries.
Somov and Braikevich met on the eve of the First World War. As you can see, the personal qualities of Mikhail Vasilyevich largely determined the nature of his meeting. Somov worked slowly, and many of his works were promised in advance to collectors. Braikevich's ardent desire to get as many Som works as possible forced the artist to extract from folders graphics of different years - sketches, sketches, sketches, preparatory sheets. Although more valuable compared to them are considered to be finished paintings and fully completed drawings, the works on paper can introduce into Somov's studio, mostly graphics: to explain the creative idea, to show the architectonics of artistic thinking. When Braikevich and Somov came closer, the collector was allowed to work with the artist to order.

In early April 1919, due to the Red Army's approach, Odesa's evacuation was announced, and Mikhail Braikevich and his family left the city. However, before that, he managed to transfer his art collection to Novorossiysk University. Soviet rule lasted for several months - in August, Odesa was occupied by the Volunteer Army led by Lieutenant General Anton Ivanovich Denikin.

Shortly afterward, the first exhibition of Braikevich's collection opened. It was organized by Professor Nikolai Lvovich Okunev, who fled from the Bolsheviks to Odesa from Petrograd. The artist Philip Goziason wrote about that exhibition in the "Odesa Leaf": Thus, at the height of the Civil War, Odesa managed to acquire a real cultural gem: a small, but treasured and necessary museum of Russian painting - paintings by Rokotov, Repin, Serov, Vrubel, Somov, Bakst, Benoit, Lancer… Congratulations from the bottom of our hearts, our city, poor in artistic values, hungry for real art".
At the end of 1923, Somov found himself in England traveling from the Soviet Union to the United States, where he went to organize a large exhibition. In London, Braikevich and his family gladly received Konstantin. In exile, the artist and the connoisseur came together even more closely. Mykhailo Vasyliovych became one of the main Som customers. Braikevich came on business to Paris, where Somov finally settled in 1925, and each time saw the artist.

"My wild admirer Mykhailo Vasyliovych came to visit me - he was with me twice," Somov wrote to his sister in Leningrad. He said, "All my free money is yours!" But he earns his living by sweating his forehead. It is also touching that his wife, as he says, ignores money, is not bourgeois, and does not prevent him from spending on collecting. "An enthusiast who doesn't exist now," the artist added in his diary.

The purpose of this exhibition is to remind of the beautiful patron Mykhailo Braikevych, but first of all, of course, about Konstantin Somov, whose art he highly valued.

Pavlo Golubev
The Book of the Marquise is the highest achievement of Konstantin Somov as a book graphic artist and, at the same time, one of the peaks of the illustration of the Silver Age as a whole.

In the mid-1900s, Somov was already well known in European countries, especially in France, Austria, and Germany, and worked for German publishers.

One such order came from the Hans von Weber Verlag publishing house in Munich. The name of one of them, the anthology of erotic literature "Book of the Marquise," directly pointed to the source of stylization - the boudoir book of the XVIII century.

The book was published in 1908. Although the anthology idea was not fully realized (because of this, the Munich edition was called the "Little Marquise"), working on it enormously influenced Somov's next decade's art. The artist often returned to characteristic plots and motifs of the "Book of the Marquis." He was repeatedly visited by the idea of preparing a new edition.

"Marquis book"
In November 1915, the Union graphic and graphic institution invited Somov to prepare a new Marquise. The artist began without delay: he wrote the Marquis Book's original drawings and collected preparatory materials for a new graphic suite. This work took 1916 and part of the next. Somov used all the sketches of Munich edition (the banned ones were published) and created new ones. Besides, he completely rewrote the anthology.

However, over the next two years, the Union ceased to exist. The idea was picked up by the St. Petersburg firm Golike and Wilborg. Somov prepared two books for her at once: the so-called "Middle Marquise" and "The Great Marquise" - the complete collection of erotic drawings on the theme of the gallant age (the most outspoken in the "Middle Marquise" did not get).

All the authentic copies of the "Grand Marquis" that have come down to us are well known: occasionally, one appears in free sale. But an even greater rarity remains in the Odesa Art Museum - excerpts from the Book of the Marquise painted by Somov. The author's coloring of one-color prints served as a model for printing artists in creating color illustrations. However, Somov usually did not limit himself exclusively to this task: he painted a few more prints - created other, not intended for reproduction unique color variations. Collectors willingly bought such works.

In 1917, at the request of Mikhail Braikevich, the artist painted about sixty illustrations of the "Great Marquise." The work was performed in three stages: first, in 1917, Somov painted five sheets. In the summer, the artist completed the central part - "about 60 pieces" - and finally in September, one or more prints. Unfortunately, the list of these illustrations is not in Somov's documents or the OHM archives - even the number of works is currently unknown. According to archival sources, a significant part of them was stolen during Odesa's Romanian occupation during World War II.
The publication was prepared for the exhibition of Konstantin Andriyovych Somov (1869–1939), one of the World of Art Association's founders. The book acquaints with a large and flashy collection of Somov's works, which is stored in the Odesa Fine Arts Museum. The paintings and graphics of this master from the collections of museums of Ukraine, Latvia, and Lithuania. The catalog examines the artistic features and history of many of the works presented, highlighting the history of the formation of the OFAM collection in its Somov part.

The cost of the catalog: 350 hryvnias.
The number of pages: 232.
Language of publication: Ukrainian.

The publication includes appendices: the initial prices of some works, a list of paintings and drawings by Somov, lost during the Second World War, etc. Most works are published for the first time. The publication is addressed to both specialists and a wide range of readers interested in the history of art and culture.

Author-compiler - Pavlo Golubev, curator of the exhibition "Konstantin Somov. Uncensored, " will last in the Odesa Fine Arts Museum until October 27.
Catalogue of the exhibition
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