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date: 14 December 2019

Pen, Yury [Yehuda; Iyeguda] (Moiseyevich) locked

(b Novo-Aleksandrovsk, Kovenskaya province, ?1854; d Vitebsk [now Viciebsk], Feb 28, 1937).
  • Sergey Kuznetsov

Extract

[Yehuda; Iyeguda] (Moiseyevich)

(b Novo-Aleksandrovsk, Kovenskaya province, ?1854; d Vitebsk [now Viciebsk], Feb 28, 1937).

Belarusian painter. After studying under Boris Gershovich and then under Pavel Chistyakov (1832–1919) at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts (1882–5), he founded his own art school in Viciebsk, where his pupils included Marc Chagall and Solomon Yudovin. The school paved the way for the intense artistic activity in Viciebsk in 1918–22, although Pen himself did not welcome the extreme avant-garde. The Unovis group founded by Kazimir Malevich left no room for Pen’s art, but he continued to teach nevertheless. Few of Pen’s works have survived; most of the 700 works that he gave to the Belarusian government and that were housed in the Yury Pen Museum in Viciebsk until World War II have been lost. Those works that have survived often reveal the artist’s desire to capture his surroundings, as in Old Soldier (Minsk, Belarus’. A. Mus.). His smaller paintings, such as Jewish Rabbi (untraced), the naive style of which resembles the works of Henri Rousseau and Niko Pirosmanashvili, bring together people, objects and nature. Pen considered realism the only possible means of expression in painting. Therefore, after he produced works with new titles in the 1920s, such as ...

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