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Anatoly Zverev


Soviet Nonconformist Art from A to Z


Museum Story

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Dear visitors! Note that the AZ Museum will be closed from April 1 due to the exposition change.


Zverev in Flames

June 14 – 30, 2012

New Manezh, Moscow


Over 200 works by Anatoly Zverev from George Costakis’ collection were displayed at the exhibition — paintings that were miraculously saved from the fire.

Rumors and talks started going around the Moscow intelligentsia in 1976:
—Costakis family is moving to Greece. — He will move out the collection. — No, they won’t let him do it. — Costakis is going to gift the collection to the Tretyakov Gallery. — No, he will gift only icons and first avant-garde, but will move out the second. — He will leave all pieces in Russia only if a place that stores all these works will be named after him. — He will take the most precious — first Russian avant-garde, but will leave the contemporaries here…

And suddenly — everything is burnt! The collector’s countryside house in Bakovka was set on fire.

— Who’s involved?— It’s all really burnt down? — Really all? — Icons and Ekster, Goncharova and Ryabin, Sveshnikov, Plavinsky and… Zverev?
First, George Costakis’ son, Dmitry, came to the burning house. Three KGB cars and seven firefighting vehicles without water were already there.

George Costakis in desperation yelled to Zverev by phone:
— Tolya, everything’s burnt!
— Was anyone hurt?
— No.
— That’s good. Concerning paintings — i will create new ones, — reassured Zverev

As George Costakis’ daughter claimed — all works were burnt. Everything that hung on walls. Only paintings and graphic works, stored in the closet, survived — Russian lubok collection and Zverev. His paintings got slightly burnt, but, surprisingly, the fire served as a decoration to them.

After George Costakis died, a huge part of Zverev’s works from the house was inherited by Natalya Costakis. Many of them were sold, gifted, given away… For years and years the daughter and inheritress of the outstanding collector of the Russian painting analyzed, sorted, restored over and over again…these masterpieces that survived from the fire.

During “Zverev in Flames“ exhibition, the whole ”New Manezh” space was divided in three halls: Fire hall, Cinema hall and Hall of Costakis family in Russia.

Over 30 thousand people visited the exhibition in a course of three months. Major interest of a wide authority to the exhibition and to the oeuvre of Anatoly Zverev became a beginning point for the creation of the museum.
Specially for the exhibition, the catalog was issued that you can find in a book shop of the Museum.

Curator of the project Polina Lobachevskaya
Project designer Gennady Sinnev
Coordinator of the project Natalya Volkova
Video-design Alexander Dolgin
Technical director Vladimir Chernigovsky

Supported by the collector Natalia Opaleva

video trailer


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