Vladimir Stozharov

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‘Yaroslav courtyard’ 1967

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‘Linen’ (or ‘Flax’. It’s the same word - лен – in Russian… Both are in the picture) 1967

When we were living in Moscow in 1987, one of my favourite things to do was to go to the huge bookshop, Dom Knigi, on Kalinin Prospekt (the 6-lane highway renamed Novy Arbat in 1994. The bookshop is still there and is as exciting a venue as ever).  As well as books and records to browse amongst, there was a large rectangular counter on the first floor where you could buy sets of postcards, which were very cheap and on all kinds of subjects.  If I remember rightly, the shop assistants were stationed within the four-sided counter, with the postcards on display behind them and they would bring them down so you could have a proper look. I did a lot of pointing in those days, to indicate what I wanted to see, having virtually no Russian, spoken or otherwise. I’m ashamed at my continued lack of fluency, but at least I understand a lot more now.

I still have many of these postcards, including sets depicting, for example ‘Heroes of the Soviet Union’, portraits of famous Russian writers, and lots of reproductions of paintings by individual artists.  There were also sets showing ‘Russian Landscapes’ or still life paintings by mixed artists, and, at the time, I didn’t always take in their names.  But I remember being struck by the two images at the top of this post amongst my cards and have loved them ever since.

These are by Vladimir Fedorovich Stozharov, who was born in Moscow in 1926 and died there in 1973. Here’s some information about his life and work.

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I have a book about him (in Russian), published in Leningrad in 1974 with a lot of information, but the colour reproduction is not good.  Luckily there are plenty of images on the internet which I hope are truer to his masterly treatment of light on landscape, objects and buildings. In his landscapes you can tell what time of year or even what time of day he is depicting, and the weather at that moment.  For example, I imagine the picture below was painted in autumn and it looks chilly there. (I can recall being miserably cold in Russia even in September, but then I’m a wimpish English woman …)

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I love the boldness of the shadows on a bright day, his depiction of stormy skies, of mud and puddles, and, of course, snow. I haven’t knowingly seen any of his works ‘for real’ – only in reproduction, so it’s going to be a priority for me to go to the New Tretyakov Gallery when I have a couple of days in Moscow in August.  I hope I will find some there.

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Interiors and Still Life

Landscapes

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