This simple, yet elegant drawing by Russian artist Vadim Sidur joined the collection in 2001. Sidur specialized in monumental sculpture during the last Stalinist years. He was going to participate in the re-building of Moscow after World War II, but Stalin died in 1953, and in the mid-1950s Sidur abandoned the Socialist Realist vocabulary that would form the style of the postwar revisions. The officials regarded his non-canonical art as formalist and pacifist, and therefore prevented him from exhibiting in Russia. Despite this prohibition, Sidur never left his native country.
Sidur began making drawings after suffering a heart attack in 1961. In the work above, titled Faces, he achieved a quality of sculptural volume on a flat surface. The monumentality and dynamism of ancient sculpture, which had fascinated Sidur since childhood, resonates. Perhaps because of his two encounters with death (the other, during WW II) his work typically addressed existential questions about life, death, and family. The three people represented here are graphically linked, symbolizing the need for human support within a hostile social and political environment.
image sources: 1 / 2
This Japanese woodblock print by Hirose Bihō joined the collection in 2005. Very little is known about the artist Bihō (born 1873) except that he was a designer of kachō-e, or “animal and flower pictures.” In many of his known works, he experiments with bokashi, the gradient effect in the background and on the owl’s chest. This print is signed “Bihō” at lower left and bears the artist’s seal.
image source: Untitled (Owl and Cherry Branch)
These eccentric prints by contemporary American artist Beth Van Hoesen joined the collection in 2012. Traci (left) and Steve (right) are the only two compositions that Beth Van Hoesen realized as prints from her series of drawings “Punks.” Van Hoesen executed these drawings in the 1980s and early ‘90s, finding her subjects in the Castro District of San Francisco, where she lived in a former firehouse.
Fellow artist Joseph Goldyne, who interviewed Van Hoesen in 2009, asserts that “Punks” represents some of her finest work. Better-known for her animal and flower subjects, Van Hoesen approached all her subjects with the same attention to differentiating details. Goldyne suggests that her interest in punks and animals was analogous: “She was fascinated by the same panoply of color in these kids as she was in the orchestrations of color she found in roosters or vultures or parrots. She seemed to love to draw things that were, in and of themselves, composed already”—like Traci with her geisha-esque makeup and hot-pink hair and Steve with his sculpted hair and prominent tattoo.
image sources: Traci / Steve