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M. N. Sokolov

(Mikhailovich)

(b Moscow, June 10, 1925; d Feb 29, 2012).

Russian painter, sculptor, theorist and teacher. He attended the Surikov Institute of Art in Moscow (1942–7), where he completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies; his teachers there were Aristarkh Lentulov, Pavel Kuznetsov and Lev Bruni. He obtained a doctorate in art history and was a specialist in the historiography of Russian art. In 1948 he established an independent studio, which was unique for its time and which provided the base for the New Realist movement, a kind of monumental tachism. Over several years approximately 600 artists and architects passed through the studio. In 1962 he organized one of the first public exhibitions of avant-garde art in Moscow. Displayed at the Central Exhibition Hall (Manezh), it was wildly slandered by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the moment that proved most symptomatic of the end of a period of political thaw. From 1964 artists of the New Realist movement worked at Belyutin’s dacha at Abramtsevo, north of Moscow; unofficial exhibitions of their work were held there annually. In ...