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Artisti russi in Svizzera. Marianne Werefkin (Tula 1860-Ascona 1938)

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edited by Mara Folini

Moscow, Tret'jakov Gallery, 10 September-21 November 2010
Ascona, Museo Comunale d'Arte Moderna, 5 March-3 July 2011

paperback with flaps
24,5x29 cm 312 pp.,
200 colour illustrations

978-88-96532-18-8 Italian/Russian

For the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Russian painter Marianne von Werefkin, who was born in Tula in 1860 and settled in the Swiss town of Ascona, the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow decided to stage an exhibition about her, as she played a decisive role on the art scene at the turn of the 20th century. Tied to Alexej Jawlensky for 30 years, she influenced Kandinsky, participated in and promoted the establishment of the Neue Künstlervereinigung München and Der Blaue Reiter (she was dubbed the “horsewoman of the Blue Riders”), and experienced the upheaval of the avant-garde movements, including that of the Dada group. Indeed, key figures of the era—representing all the arts—gravitated around her, from Klee to the Sacharoffs, Else Lasker-Schüler and Diaghilev. Werefkin, who lived in Russia, Lithuania, France and Germany, was forced to immigrate to Switzerland during the First World War. Starting in 1918 the town of Ascona welcomed her and many others, becoming a hub of culture and experimentation. In 2011 the exhibition will travel to Ascona, underscoring the enormous influence that both Russia and Switzerland had on Werefkin’s artistic development and personality. These two exhibitions, which follow the one staged in Rome in 2009, have continued to investigate an artist who employed a dazzling and intense pallet to paint subjects imbued with symbolic meaning even when they appear to be commonplace. The catalogue illustrates numerous paintings by 19th- and 20th-century Russian artists who were connected with Werefkin, not only through shared aesthetic values but also friendship. There is an essential selection of critical texts, such as the letters that she and Igor Grabar exchanged between 1894 and 1914, which have been published here for the first time.