Exhibitions Museums United Kingdom

London show of Soviet realist swaps venues

Originally slated for the Royal Academy, an exhibition of paintings by Viktor Popkov will be shown at Somerset House instead

Viktor Popkov's Summer, July, 1969, from the Filatov Family collection

The first UK exhibition of paintings by the Soviet Realist artist Viktor Popkov will now be shown at London’s Somerset House (West Wing, 20 May to 24 June 2014), rather than at the Royal Academy (RA), as originally planned. A spokeswoman for the RA says that “despite the merits of Viktor Popkov, it was decided that the exhibition did not fit the requirements of the programme in Burlington Gardens [the building behind the RA’s main galleries] at this particular juncture.”

The exhibition, which is being organised by the State Museum and Exhibition Centre Rosizo in Moscow, will include around 40 paintings by the artist, whose supporters believe is under-recognised in the UK. Several of the works—including Summer, July, 1969—come from the Filatov Family art fund, which is headed by the billionaire and art collector Andrey Filatov, the Moscow-based co-owner of the railway and port operator N-Trans. Filatov is supporting the Somerset House exhibition and says he regards Popkov as “the Dostoyevsky of art”, who is “widely admired in Russia, but barely known elsewhere.”

Filatov set Popkov’s auction record when he bought Summer, July (sold under the title A family in July) from Sotheby’s in New York for $842,500 in 2010. The artist’s previous auction record was 105,763 for Reflection by the Window sold at MacDougall’s earlier that year.

Other works in the exhibition will come from the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg, the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, as well as other regional museums in Russia.

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