Monday, August 2, 2010

(Social) Realism: Uzbekistan

Pavel Benkov (1879-1949)

Benkov studied at the Kazan (Tatarstan, Russia) Art School at the turn of the 19th century, continuing in the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts (1901-1908). He then went on to study in the studios of D. Kardovskiy and I. Repin, as well as in the Julien Academy in Paris (1909), after which he returned to the Kazan Art School. He moved to Uzbekistan in 1929, where he was involved in creative and educational activities. Being a champion of the Russian realistic art, he produced a body of work dedicated to Bukhara, Khiva and Samarkand.

Oganes Tatevosyan (1889-1974)
In 1908 Tatevosyan entered Tbilisi’s Art School. In 1910-1917 he studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture under K. Korovin, then in the VKHUTEMAS (Higher Art Technical Studios) from 1921-1927. Between this time, he lived in Samarkand, and became close friends with A. Nikolayev and V. Ufimtsev. He was a member-founder of the “Samarkand commune” school (1918) and the School of Painting and Sculpture in Erevan, Armenia (1921). In 1918-1919 he participated in decorating Samarkand to mark the revolutionary holidays, painting vivid propaganda panels. From 1932 Tatevosyan lived in Tashkent and in 1937 worked as art director of the Uzbek Pavilion in the All-Union Exhibition in Moscow. In 1966 Tatevosyan moved to Moscow.

Nikolay Karakhan (1900-1970)
As a child Karakhan moved to Turkestan with his parents from Nagorny Karabakh (today’s Azerbaijan). While at school he developed a passion for painting which led him to the Tashkent school of art (1918-1921). In 1921, he was enlisted in the Red Army where he spent most of his time painting. Once demobilized, Karakhan taught painting first at the Turkmen Vocational Pedagogical School (1925-1934), then at the Tashkent School of Art (1934-1941). Many of his pictures and sketches present somewhat unusual chronicle of the young artist’s development in Uzbekistan. Bright conventionalized pictures, rhythmical composition and ornamentality are distinctive features of Karakhan’s earlier works.

Ural Tansykbayev (1904-1974)
Tansykbayev studied in N. Rozanov’s Art Studio of the Tashkent Museum of Art (1924-1928), then in the Penza Vocational School of Art and Pedagogy where he was admitted directly to the graduating class. He participated in many exhibitions in Uzbekistan, Moscow as well as abroad and garnered numerous government accolades. He established very close ties with the museum which obtained many of his earlier works from the late 1920s and early 1930s, regarded by many as the best collection of paintings and graphics of the period. Tansykbayev died in Nukus, while arranging a solo exhibition.

Bazarbay Serekeev (1942-)
Graduated from the Republican Art school named after Benkov (1962-1969) in Tashkent. Serekeev’s creative activity is characterized with his eager to develop his own artistic manner of painting and to find his own way to in revealing the subject matter. The narrative and domestic scenes take an important place in his paintings. There he depicts the people with their everyday concerns and occupations. Very often he combines in his works genre scenes and landscape which mutually enrich and complete each other. He is one of the active artists in Karakalpakstan panting usually out-of-doors. Serekeev likes most of all the rural motifs, the subject of labour. Colour and texture of his brushwork convey emotional atmosphere of his compositions.

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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