Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Coincidentally, three of Bulgaria’s cartoonists have a family name starting with B - Bozhenov, Alexander 1878-1968; Behar, Marko 1914-73; and Beshkov, Ilia 1901- 1958. I have no information yet about the first two but Wikipedia gave me the sort of information about Beshkov I would like to have about all the entries in the planned book And I was able to buy two old books devoted to Beshkov's life and work in the chaotic antique shop I’ve already mentioned. Indeed I also snapped up a lot of sketches scribbled on the pages of a 1947 journal which look remarkably like Beshkov’s work – not only to me but to Bulgarian cognoscenti I’ve shown them to.
More examples are to be seen on a short link Remarkable old Bulgarian illustrators
Beshkov was born in 1901 in a small town near Pleven. In 1918–1920, he studied law at Sofia University and briefly returned home as a teacher. In 1921, he enrolled in painting at the National Academy of Arts and graduated in 1926. As a student, Beshkov published caricatures in magazines. He was twice arrested due to his leftist political views: once after participating in the uprising following the Bulgarian coup détat of 1923.
He was one of the founders of a famous newspaper "Hornet" in 1940, and published in it without signature or pseudonym. In 1945, he became a lecturer of drawing, illustration and print design at the National Academy of Fine Art; he was elected a tenured professor in 1953 and led the Department of Graphics until his death in 1958.
Beshkov's political caricatures were humanist, democratic, revolutionary and national in nature. The art gallery in Pleven is named in his honour and most of his works are exhibited there. I reproduced another of his cartoons here. And I have in my bathroom what I think is a Behar