The Museum of Russian Art presents an exhibition of more than thirty rare works by Anatoly Zverev, from the collection of Peter and Alexandra Rose. A legendary figure of the Moscow underground art scene in post-Stalinist Moscow, Anatoli Zverev was a rebel who defied conventions, standards, and rules both in his art and in his life. 

His career began successfully when he won an art contest at the 1957 International Festival of Youth in Moscow. He made friends with George Kostaki, a notable collector of avant-garde art, who praised the “speed and accuracy of Zverev’s brush.”  His solo exhibition took place in Paris in 1965, and Picasso praised his work. Because of his success abroad, the Soviet art establishment ignored and snubbed his work. Without a job and a place to live, he wandered through Moscow, staying at friends’ houses for the night, giving his works to hosts as a token of gratitude. Zverev was generous with the money he made from sales of his works to foreign collectors and would often invite his numerous friends for a night of food and drink. 

Zverev developed his own manner of painting, similar to the post-WWII French style of Tachisme. Tachisme derives from the French tache, meaning stain. The style implies intuitive and spontaneous brushwork, often with dripping paint from the tube, somewhat similar to Jackson Pollock’s manner. Zverev was known to paint with available materials close at hand – gouache, watercolors, pencils, and for lack of those, ketchup, cream cheese, or shoe polish.

Zverev died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of fifty-five, leaving a lasting heritage of influential art, memories of his unconventional life, and thousands of paintings. 

Anatoly Zverev: Under the Soviet Radar is on view in the Fireside Gallery March 30 – June 23, 2024.

From left:

Anatoly Zverev
Flowers, 1960s-1980s
Ink on paper
Collection of Peter and Alexandra Rose

Anatoly Zverev
Men Drinking, 1960s – 1980s
Ink on paper
Collection of Peter and Alexandra Rose

Anatoly Zverev
Self Portrait, 1960s – 1980s
Mixed media
Collection of Peter and Alexandra Rose


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