"Viktor Popkov: Russian Painter of Genius" published in the UK

October 23, 2013
"Viktor Popkov: Russian Painter of Genius" published in the UK The book Viktor Popkov: Russian Painter of Genius has been published by Unicorn Press Ltd.

It is the first in a series of annual books on iconic Soviet artists aimed at promoting awareness and understanding of this period of Russian art among international audiences.

Popkov was born in 1932 and tragically shot dead on a Moscow street in 1974, when he mistook a courier for a cab. His short life however was the brilliant one. He won the Grand Prix at the World Biennale in Paris in 1967, one of the most prestigious art awards in the world, when he was just 35 years old. His student works were bought by the State Tretyakov Gallery, the foremost depository of Russian fine art.

The author, artist and art historian Pyotr Kozorezenko Jr, Peter Kozorezenko, said: "Popkov is a significant figure in Soviet and Russian art. His paintings were bought by the Tretyakov Gallery when he was just 27 which is a unique achievement. Popkov's works have been sold at major auctions, such as those held by Sotheby's, making him one of the most expensive figurative realist artist. People vote with their money and this shows there is real demand and interest in this talented artist".

Viktor Popkov was one of the most celebrated Soviet artists during Krushschev’s Thaw. Perhaps it is for this reason – that he was recognized and not considered an underground artist – that he is less well known, and less appreciated outside Russia than many of his peers.

Pyotr Kozorezenko, consideres Popkov “an enigma, half obscured behind a veil of unquestioningly accepted categories and stereotypes inherited from the now-distant Soviet era.” The book aims to “look behind the textbook image … for the real Popkov, the magnificent, versatile artist who was so paradoxically underestimated and misunderstood…”

The fully illustrated hardback book is the first in-depth review of Viktor Popkov and commemorates his artistic accomplishments 80 years after his birth. The book was commissioned by Filatov Family Art Fund.

The Fund aims to publish a book each year about Russian artists who worked from about 1917 to 1991, mainly in the Socialist Realism style. Forthcoming subjects are likely to include Nicolai Fechin, the acclaimed Russian émigré painter, and Fyodor Reshetnikov, a prominent Soviet painter also known for his caricatures, among others. The aim is to promote awareness and appreciation for this art movement, which so far has been widely overlooked on the international stage.


The painting on the book’s cover is "Summer, July” (1969)