Taille Directe: Sculptures by Naum Mogilevsky

This display of human-form sculptures in The Museum of Russian Art’s Fireside Gallery features fourteen works by Naum Mogilevsky.  The sculptures were recently added to the Museum’s growing permanent collection through a generous gift from Marsha Shisman and the artist’s nephew, Boris Mogilevsky and are on view for the very first time publicly.

Sculptor Naum Mogilevsky (1895-1975) was a prominent member of the celebrated 1920s-1930s artist group in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) known as the Krug Khudozhnikov (Circle of Artists).  A close friend of the famous avant-gardist Vladimir Tatlin and a pupil of the outstanding sculptor Alexander Matveev, Mogilevsky created works of lasting beauty that did not conform to the parameters of state-endorsed Socialist Realism.  Mogilevsky’s style was influenced by a modernist European movement known as Direct Carving, or “taille directe” in French.  This technique required the artist to visualize the finished image within a raw block of wood or stone without doing preliminary sketches. The artist then utilized the process of carving itself to develop the ultimate three-dimensional image.

Mogilevsky’s late period carvings of stone and wood represent some of his most exciting work, with chisel marks visible on the surface of the medium.  The main body of Mogilevsky’s works is now preserved at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.  The objects included in this exhibition are drawn from the sculptor’s late period and were donated to The Museum of Russian Art in 2010.  Also featured are the sculptor’s plaster studies and photographs of his studio in Leningrad taken in the late 1960s.  The exhibition closes September 9, 2012.

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