what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Do paintings speak for themselves?

On what was supposed to be the last evening in Sofia, a burst of purchases – this time from my friend Ruhmen's small Neron Gallery on the corner of Tsar Samuel and Neofin Rilski streets-

  • two Petar Boiadjiev seascapes; 
  • two more Kolyo Kolev Rhodope landscapes from the early 1940s; 
  • and a dramatic Cyril Mateev showing the towering Rila massif. 
This on top of a couple more Naidenovs and a Kolyo Kolev a week earlier.

The painting at the top is the first Petar Boiadjiev I ever bought and one of my favourites - a 1943 one of the  Kaliakra cliffs just north of Balcik which was such an attraction for Romanian painters in the early part of the 20th century.
I'm told that Boiadjiev (1907-1963) studied art in Bucharest. That (and the birth and death dates) are the only things I know about him. His seascapes (for me) rival those of Boris Stefchev.

Kolyo Koev (1905-50) is another one of many Bulgarian painters I wish I knew more about – his Rhodope landscapes from the 1940s have a very distinctive colourful impressionist style – with the oil paint thickly applied.
All I know about him is that he committed suicide in 1950 at the age of 45.

Kiril Mateev (1920-2006) was a prolific painter - particularly of dramatic mountain scenes like this one.

Interesting that information about so many of my favourites is so difficult to get hold of!
I occasionally get the gallerists to consult their "bible" (the old artistic encyclopaedia of Bulgaria  painters many of them have) but (for names such as these) even this rarely reveals much.
A previous post regretted the lack of information about the life of Grigor Naidenov many of whose Sofia cafe scenes in the decades from the 1920s now adorn my walls.
But does info about the training, travels, travails and friends of painters really add much to one's understanding of a painter? The portrait of Naidenov I included in that particular post is certainly a bonus.....
I've met some of the contemporary Bulgarian painters but don't really know much about them. Somehow, however, the times in which the older painters lived holds greater fascination. I want to know how they dealt with the various dilemmas they were faced with - not least the violent communist takeover of 1944.

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