Jewish Artists of the Russian and Soviet Empires
from the Vladimir and Vera Torchilin Collection

Opening October 12, 2017, 6:30 - 8:30
Museum of Russian Icons
203 Union St, Clinton, MA

Curated by Anna Winestein
Organized by Ballets Russes Arts Initiative
Printed Catalogue available


This exhibition explores the creative responses as well as historical trajectories of Jewish artists born, trained, or active in the Russian as well as Soviet Empires in the twentieth century. The nearly 100 artworks by fifty different artists carry a complex legacy, of both opportunity and suffering, cooperation and hatred, inclusion and alienation. The show is on view October 12, 2017- January 28, 2018.

The opening of the show coincides closely with the centenary of the October Revolution of 1917, which transformed the landscape of choices and options for Russian Jewry, including artists, in many positive ways while also bringing enormous displacement and violence.Some of these paintings, drawings, prints, posters and illustrated books, as well as decorative art objects, which span the 20th century, were created within the territory of Imperial Russia or the Soviet Union, and some after the artists had emigrated to Europe or the United States. They illuminate the aesthetic achievements or contributions and socio-political experiences of Jews within Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union as well as of Russian/Soviet Jews in emigration in Europe and the United States.


Nearly all the items on display date from the 20th century, primarily from the period between the start of World War I in 1914 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Select highlights of the show include pieces by Alexandre Altmann, Boris Anisfeld, Eugene Berman, Sonia Delaunay, Moshe Kogan, Solomon Gershov, Anatoly Kaplan, El Lissitzky, Oscar Rabin, Savely Sorine, Moses and Raphael Soyer, Eduard Steinberg, Nikolai Suetin, Alexander Tyshler, Solomon Yudovin, and Osip Zadkine.

Read about the show on the Museum' of Russian Icons's site>

Program of Events

* September 16 at Algonquin Club of Boston: Nigun Chamber Ensemble concert Tickets Here>

* October 12 at the Museum of Russian Icons: Opening reception and lecture by curator Anna Winestein on Russian Art of the Jewish Century RSVP Here>
* October 19 at Harvard Ed Portal: screening of Finding Babel RSVP Here>
* October 21: Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet MIGRATION + REVOLUTION concert at the Museum of Modern Renaissance (Somerville, MA) Tickets Here>
* October 22: Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet REVOLUTION, centenary concert at St.Paul's Church (Newburyport, MA) Tickets Here>
* November 11 at the Algonquin: Rostropovich and Soviet Jewish composers, concert/lecture by Yosif Feigelson. Tickets Here>
* November 18 at the Museum of Russian Icons: Panel discussion with the collectors and curator RSVP Here>
* December 1 at District Hall, Seaport: Young Russian-Jewish-American Creatives in the US. Panel discussion and reception.

Vladimir and Vera Torchilin’s collection started with Vladimir’s parents who lived in Moscow and were friendly with several notable Soviet artists, including some who were Jewish. Vladimir began his collecting as a bibliophile, an interest that coincided with his love of writing poetry and prose—he is the author of numerous novels, volumes of short stories and essays. The Torchilins moved to the US in the early 1990s and after the fall of the Soviet Union were successful in bringing out a large portion of their and Vladimir’s parents collection, to which they have continued to add voraciously since. Their collection as a whole primarily focuses on Russian and Soviet art, not only by creators of Jewish heritage, but also includes works by European and American artists.

Anna Winestein is an historian of art and theater, independent curator, and cultural entrepreneur. She is Executive Director and co-founder of Ballets Russes Arts Initiative (BRAI) and previously served as Creative Director for the Hermitage Museum Foundation. Exhibitions Ms. Winestein has curated include The Golden Age of the Ballets Russes for Sotheby’s Galerie Charpentier in Paris, and The Magical Reality of Alexandre Benois at the Boston Public Library. Co-editor and co-author of The Ballets Russes and the Art of Design (Random House, Editions Hazan, 2009), Ms. Winestein has published in academic journals and contributed essays to numerous exhibition catalogues and joint volumes such as Dance and Fashion (Yale Univ. Press, 2014) Migration and Mobility in the Modern Age (Indiana Univ. Press, 2017) and Revolutions in Russian Painting (Bonnefanten Museum Maastricht 2013). Ms. Winestein has been a Cultural Envoy for the US State Department and is a former Fulbright Scholar. Ms. Winestein is also an associate of the Davis Center at Harvard University and the Center for the Study of Europe at Boston University. Learn more about BRAI here>

Dr. Vladimir Torchilin is a leading biochemist, pharmacologist and specialist in nanomedicine, author of 450 scientific papers and holder of over 40 patents. He is currently University Distinguished Professor at Northeastern University and Director of its Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Nanomedicine. Vera Torchilin worked in wealth management, finishing her career as a Second Vice President at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Learn more about Vladimir Torchilin here>

The Museum of Russian Icons inspires the appreciation and study of Russian culture by collecting and exhibiting icons and related objects. It is the only museum in the US dedicated to Russian icons, and it is the largest collection of icons outside of Russia.Learn more about Museum of Russian Icons here>

(l) Moscow, Alexey Aizenmann
This and all images below are from the Torchilin Collection

Boris Anisfeldt

Autumn, Boris Anisfeldt

(l) Procession (detail), Lenid & Rimma Brailovsky
Eduard Steinberg

Abstract Composition, Eduard Steinberg

Anna Winestein

Anna Winestein

Museum of Russian Icons

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