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V. Rakitin

(Mikhaylovich)

(b Kozlov [now Michurinsk, Tambov region], Aug 12, 1881; d Moscow, July 23, 1963).

Russian painter, stage designer and administrator. He studied at the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow (1903–15) under Abram Arkhipov, Nikolay Kasatkin and Korovin family, §2, among others. At the School he emerged as a leader of a group of traditionalists who contended with the avant-garde led by Mikhail Larionov. After service in the army he returned to Kozlov, where he worked as a stage designer and decorated the town for revolutionary festivities. In 1925 he moved to Moscow, where he was a member of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia. The style Gerasimov was using by the mid-1920s in his landscapes and portraits, which was a combination of academic realism and Impressionism, remained practically unchanged throughout his life.

Gerasimov’s work is significant as representative of a solemn ‘heroic realism’ (e.g. Lenin on the Tribune, 1929–30; Moscow, Cent. Lenin Mus.), later considered a paradigm of Socialist Realism. He painted a series of pompous official portraits of Soviet leaders (e.g. ...

Article

Anna Bentkowska

(b Olesko, nr Lwów [now L’viv, Ukraine], Sept 12, 1920; d Warsaw, Sept 25, 1972).

Polish painter, theatre designer and architect. He began his artistic education by taking lessons in sculpture and painting; he then trained as an architect at the Polytechnics of Lwów (1939–41) and Gdańsk (1945–6). He briefly studied painting as a student of Eugeniusz Eibisch in Kraków (1945). Constantly searching for new forms of expression, he explored various disciplines and techniques and, throughout his career, moved from one style to another. His first paintings were influenced by Eibisch’s colourism. In this post-war period he also worked on various architectural, sculptural and theatrical designs, such as the statue of the poet Adam Mickiewicz (1947; unexecuted) and the pavilion for the Agricultural Exhibition, Czȩstochowa (1949). He soon followed the newly imposed style of Socialist Realism, becoming one of its leading figures with works such as Pass Me a Brick (1950; Wrocław, N. Mus.). Unhindered by ideological restrictions, his series of sketches from Vietnam (...

Article

Stephan von Wiese

(b Mecklenburg, March 13, 1930).

German sculptor and stage designer. He studied painting at the Kunstakademie in Berlin-Weissensse (1949–53), working first in the style of Socialist Realism. During his period at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf he undertook self-imposed repetitive exercises such as archery, and he modelled his first relief-form paintings by hand. In 1957 he made his first relief structures with nails leading to works such as White Picture (nails on canvas on wood, 1959; Krefeld, Kaiser-Wilhelm Mus.). He also incorporated corks (e.g. Cork Picture Light Medium, 1960; Düsseldorf, Kstmus.) and cardboard tubes set into the surface of the painting. The nailed picture became the antithesis of the painted picture; it allowed Uecker to explore the articulation of light through the shadows created by the nails, the unchanging ritual of hammering and the violation of taboo surfaces. In 1958 he began to work on circular nail formations, leading in 1961 to his rotating nailed illuminated discs....