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January 19 in Jerusalem in the cultural center «Beit Avi Chai» For the first time in Israel, a retrospective of the work of the Soviet Jewish artist Anatoly Kaplan “The Enchanted Artist” opens, comparable in importance to Chagall and Soutine, who never received permission to leave the Soviet Union. The exhibition features more than 100 works (and noticeably more – 210 works – on the simultaneously opening online version of the exhibition on the Beit Avi Chai website), most of which have never been presented in Israel. The exhibition will open to the general public on January 22. FREE ENTRY.
This is an exhibition – a significant event not only for the generation of those who knew the work of Kaplan through his artwork and illustrations, but also for the younger generation interested in the modern history of Soviet Jewry, the history of confrontation and survival. Collectors of Anatoly Kaplan's works, the spouses Lyudmila and Isaac Kushnir, the curator of his exhibition in St. Petersburg, art critic Natalia Kozyreva, ethnographer, philologist and translator Valery Dymshits and other admirers of Kaplan's work – an artist's work that must be appreciated and forgotten.
Anatoly Kaplan (1902-1980) was one of the outstanding artists of the Soviet Union. Often inspired by classic Jewish literature, Kaplan's work reflects the many changes that Jews in the Soviet Union underwent.
Jerusalem Cultural Center “Beit Avi Chai” presents the first retrospective of Kaplan's work in Israel. The exhibition includes more than 100 works created by the artist between 1937 and 1980 – oil paintings, lithographs, ceramics, sculptures and rare editions of books. Spread over three floors of the Beit Avi Chai building, the exhibition is curated by Beit Avi Chai Executive Director David Rosenson and poet and filmmaker Amihai Hasson, director of cultural projects and festivals at Beit Avi Chai.
All over the world, and especially in the post-Soviet space, Anatoly Kaplan is mentioned on a par with the artists Marc Chagall and Chaim Soutine. Kaplan's work is included in the collections of many world-famous museums, including the New York MoMA; Kaplan's exhibitions were organized in New York (In New York, back in 1959, Kaplan's works were exhibited at an exhibition dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sholom Aleichem), Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Boston, Leipzig, Verona, Turin, in Prague – despite the fact that Kaplan himself was never given the opportunity to travel outside the USSR. In 2006, the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg hosted an important retrospective of his work.
But, oddly enough, in Israel, the life and work of Kaplan are known primarily to art historians. His exhibition was held in Jerusalem 60 years ago – in the then National Museum of Bezalel. Despite the fact that Kaplan – one of the most significant artists of the 20th century, few people know about him in Israel.
Anatoly (Tankhum) Kaplan was born in 1902 in Rogachev (Belarus) and died in 1980 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia). Despite close supervision by the authorities, Kaplan devoted most of his work to Jewish themes, including the works of Sholom Aleichem, and Rogachev, the city of his birth – the city where his parents died in the ghetto in 1941. Existing within this isolated world, leaving the radar screens of Soviet censorship, Kaplan managed to put hidden messages into his paintings, reflecting the struggle between Soviet reality and Jewish identity.
In the illustrations he created for works of Jewish literature, as well as in original paintings, sculptures and engravings, Kaplan returns to the shtetl – to his native small Jewish city – and resurrects the lost Eastern European Jewish world of the last century.
Along with works on Jewish themes, Kaplan also dedicates his works to Leningrad and illustrates books by prominent writers, including Anton Chekhov and Isaac Babel, Sholom Aleichem and Mendele-Moyher Sforim, in ceramic sculpture Anatoly Kaplan turned to images from Gogol's works.
For 12 years, Kaplan was the highest paid artist in Leningrad, but, according to the policy of the Soviet government, the proceeds were transferred to the state, and Kaplan received only 2% of sales.
Kaplan died in Leningrad in 1980 at the age of 77. He was never allowed to leave the Soviet Union, not even to participate in the opening of his own exhibitions in the West.
Most of the works exhibited at Beit Avi Chai are provided by Isaac and Ludmila Kushnir from St. Petersburg. The rest are on loan for this representative exhibition from private collections in Jerusalem and New York.
The exhibition will open on January 19, 2023 at 19:00. The opening will be accompanied by a special program of events dedicated to the life of the artist. Entrance to the exhibition is free, but registration on the website is required. Lectures in different languages will be held monthly at the exhibition.
A full-color hardcover catalog in Hebrew and English has been prepared for the opening of the exhibition. It will include reproductions of Kaplan's works, which are exhibited outside of Russia for the first time.
Simultaneously with the opening, an online version of the exhibition will be launched in Hebrew, English and Russian languages.
Additional information: https://www.bac.org.il/ru/events/?eventID=17959
Opening hours of the exhibition: from January 22, the exhibition “Anatoly Kaplan. The Enchanted Artist daily, except Saturday, open to the public from 10:00 to 18:00 and Friday from 10:00 to 13:00. ENTRY IS FREE.
“Beit Avi Chai” – 44 King George Street, Jerusalem.
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