State Tretyakov Gallery is always expanding its collection of XX – XXI century art, housed in one of the Museum buildings at Krymsky Val. Thanks to the generous gift by the company “Nexia Pacioli”, two more works by Russian artist Mikhail Nikonov (1928–2010) “Players I” and “Players III”, both painted in the 1980s, were added to those three already present in the collection.
Mikhail Nikonov was a Russian artist, brother or painter Pavel Nikonov and the founder of the “Group of Nine”, a collective which exhibited work for the first time in Moscow in 1960 and then a year later in Leningrad.
After the two exhibitions had attracted the attention of the artistic communities of Moscow and Leningrad, the young artist was one of the first to decide to leave the group. This decision was motivated by a difference of opinion with some of the other members.
But by that time, the group had already sent ripples through the art world. And not just in Russia. This was the first tangible blow to the established dogmatic system of socialist realism.
After acquiring full creative independence, Mikhail began experimenting with color and form in search of his own, unique style.
Although they were growing up in the Soviet Union among classical works by artists such as Serov and Repin, Nikonov and other members of the group were inspired by the work of the avant-garde artists, which had been hidden away in the storage facilities of the Tretyakov Gallery. They were able to access this work with the help of certain art historians and this alternative art heritage served as creative inspiration which prompted these artists to pursue a different creative language in search of new ways of self expression.
Although Nikonov was the founder of the group, he is much lesser known than some of the other members, including Vladimir Weisberg. Tretyakov Gallery hopes to change this, and according to the Museum staff, the work of Nikonov is incredibly important for the understanding of the creative ideas and processes of the last decades of the 20th century.