Weisberg in his Moscow studio, 1972Igor Palmin/IN ARTIBUS Foundation
Every Thursday, the young, slightly nervy (as contemporaries recall) Vladimir Weisberg walked and creaked his way around the parquet floors of Moscow’s art galleries. He was not accepted into art school, so he studied drawing on his own here and there, just like his hero Cezanne, in fact
Vladimir Weisberg. Bush. 1947Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Weisberg’s youth was tumultuous: at the height of the Spanish Civil War, he attempted to flee the USSR for Spain to fight for the leftist Republicans against Franco. However, he was seized at Odessa Port whilst trying to board a ship, and sent straight to a psychiatric hospital in Moscow
Vladimir Weisberg. Student. 1956Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Vladimir Weisberg. Family. 1958Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
After the war, Weisberg tried to enroll at the Surikov Art Institute in
Vladimir Weisberg. Composition with gauze. 1968Collection of Inna Bazhenova
He would sit for hours on end in front of
Vladimir Weisberg. Venus and Geometry. 1976Collection of Inna Bazhenova
Vladimir Weisberg. Sitting nude. 1960Collection of Inna Bazhenova
In 1963, critics and experts haughtily dismissed the first “white on white” as a rip-off of Italian artist Giorgio Morandi. But Weisberg most likely never even laid eyes on a work by Morandi. “The whole of Moscow rushed to see the new ‘white’ Weisberg,” wrote Vorobyev.
A master of “unofficial” art who never painted in the style of social realism with its smiling collective farmers and pumped-up workers, by the late 1960s Weisberg had nevertheless become a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR—a badge that at least allowed him to eke out a living from state commissions. On top of that, despite never receiving a formal art education, he began to teach painting
Vladimir Weisberg. Black vase. 1976Collection of Inna Bazhenova
Vladimir Weisberg. Cubes and cylinders. 1977Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Vladimir Weisberg. Composition with six cubes. 1976Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
'Nothing but Harmony' exhibition of works by Vladimir Weisberg is on show at In Artibus Foundation in Moscow until July 28, 2019. For more information visit inartibus.org.
If using any of Russia Beyond's content, partly or in full, always provide an active hyperlink to the original material.
to our newsletter!
Get the week's best stories straight to your inbox