Russian-born American artist Nahum Tschacbasov: A retrospective

Nahum Tschacbasov
 Castor and Pollux, 1977 by
Nahum Tschacbasov. Source: Press Photo

American Avant-Garde Artist’s First Solo Exhibition in Over 25 Years on View at National Arts Club during 11th Annual Russian Heritage Month.

The Russian American Foundation is pleased to present a retrospective of work by Russian-born American artist Nahum Tschacbasov (1899-1984). Curated by Marina Kovalyov, the exhibition includes over fifty paintings and will be on view June 1-16, 2013 at the National Arts Club, as part of the 11th Annual Russian Heritage Month, a celebration of events and exhibits highlighting Russian culture.

Tschacbasov’s prolific 60-year career includes an incredibly varied oeuvre and extensive exhibition history. His work is held in many prestigious public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, and the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University.

Although the artist enjoyed a considerable presence within the New York art world from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, his later (and continuously productive) life veered off the radar of the critical establishment. This retrospective of his work presents Tschacbasov’s rich body of work and its complex and symbolic imagery as a subject deserving of reconsideration.

Born in Baku, Azerbaijan (then Russia), Tschacbasov immigrated to the United States in 1907 when he was only 8 years old. Here he received his education and had his first encounters with modern art.  After spending several years in Paris studying with Leopold Gottlieb, Marcel Gromaire, and Fernand Léger, in 1935, Tschacbasov returned to New York City where he stayed for the rest of his life. In early 1936, alongside Mark Rothko and seven other artists, he became part of the Dissenters Ten (The Ten), a group of artists who protested the Whitney Annual and staged shows at Montross and Mercury galleries. Later, he formed his own school of fine arts in Woodstock, N.Y., and also taught at the Art Students League.

The works represented in this exhibition reflect his development as an artist, his sense of experimentation, and a variety of styles—from classical to abstract surrealistic.

“Jewish by blood, born in a part of Russia which later became Azerbaijan, American by upbringing, Tschacbasov created the kind of art the beauty of which is truly universal. says Marina Kovalyov.

The National Arts Club

15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY 10003

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