Friday, April 30, 2010

(Social) Realism: Bulgaria

Nenko Balkanski (1907-1977)

Mario Zhekov (1898 – 1955)

Peter Dochev (1934 - 2005)
Peter Dochev was born in 1934 in the village of Lesidren, in the northern Bulgarian district of Lovech. In 1956 he finished the High School of Arts in Sofia in the class of artist Ivan Hristov. From 1957 to1959 he studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia with professors Iliya Petrov and Nenko Balkanski. Between 1960 and 1975 he was a chief artist at the Kremikovtsi Metallurgical Complex.

In 1963 he entered the Bulgarian art scene determined to leave his deep mark. That was the time when he started participating in group exhibitions. Back in the 60’s he was best known for his works On the Bus, Worker and Metallurgical Workers. They were big human figures that were occupying most of the canvas without containing excessive or insignificant details.

In 1967 he became a member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists and in 1975 he left Kremikovtsi and went back to his native Lesidren. In the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s he created a great number of urban landscapes. In mid-80’s, he moved towards abstraction and the pure geometric forms. Later on, his landscapes seem to be leaving the bounds of nature. Colourful spots and reliefs stand out from the dark background in works like Black Earth, Charred Earth, Terrain, Old Vineyards, etc. Peter Dochev’s work during the 90’s is characterized by the absence of specific imagery. During the 1990’s he started embracing purely geometrical shapes like the circle and the square. By 2000 Dochev began concentrating on black colours to later pass on to gold as a sign of eternity. In his last artworks the artist creates compositions, based on the geometry of circles and squares.

Through his career, he presented his work in numerous solo shows and group exhibitions in Bulgaria and one in Vienna. He died in Sofia in 2005.

Nikola Tanev (1890-1962)

World (Social) Realist Art (Index of Countries)
This blog page is part of an ongoing project by artist and part-time lecturer Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin ( to explore Realist / Social Realist art from around the world. The term Realism is used in its broadest sense to include 19th century Realism and Naturalism as well as 20th century Impressionism (which after all was following in the path of Courbet and Millet). Social Realism covers art that seeks to examine the living and working conditions of ordinary people (examples include German Expressionism, American Ashcan School and the Mexican Muralists).

Click here for (Social) Realist Art Definitions, World (Social) Realism and Global Solidarity, Art and Politics, Social Realism in history and Country Index.

Suggestions for appropriate artists from around the world welcome to

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