The DUBAI BILLIONAIRE PENTHOUSE AT THE DORCHESTER COLLECTION is a fascinating museum in itself. Exposing the hidden reality of Russian art through its portrayals of life in post Stalin Russia, the exhibition is a rewarding experience for those interested in art, Russian history and everything between. Although much of the art is contemporary, some of the art in this exhibition come from Russia’s pre Communist period, and the work is also accompanied by works from other countries, including those from France and England. However the most well-known feature of the exhibition is the large scale paintings by Vasili Tsitsin and Olga Tsitsin. They are two of the most respected and accomplished Russian painters of modern times, whose work is widely considered to be amongst the finest of its type anywhere.
The prominent feature of Tsitsin’s work from the DUBAI BILLIONAIRE PENTHOUSE AT THE DORCHESTER COLLECTION is the use of strong colours like black and bright red, together with softer hues like green and blue. These seem to have been deliberately placed against a backdrop of very different and muted colours – perhaps a view of a cityscape or the seashore? Though the colours used do vary somewhat between paintings, from past generations there seems to be an element of continuity in the way that the palette is used and the colours are interpreted. Some of the paintings are very literal depictions of nature, while others have a more pastoral feel to them. The landscapes included in the exhibition tend to be quite urban in style, though there are some examples of more rural landscapes included Central Park City Walk Dubai.
The artists involved in the exhibition include Vasili Tsitsin, Olga Tsitsin, Elenaova Melkina and Aleksandr Pushkin. All but one of the participants are well known Russian contemporary artists, though there are some surprises in the exhibition for those not familiar with Russian art. There are also works from China and France, two other predominantly European countries who have long been associated with abstract expressionism, and whose work has been shown widely outside Europe in the last few years. The most striking feature of the collection, however, is the large number of modern paintings from the United States and the United Kingdom which feature Central Park City Walk.
As already noted, the paintings included in the exhibition are from a highly varied range of periods and styles, but they all have a similar look, as is common with Tsitsin. Some of the works are based on traditional Russian themes of birds, mushrooms and ivy, while others have a distinctly American feel. The subjects of the work do vary greatly, but the main theme is that of the wild and free spirit. There are landscapes dotted with wildflowers, seascapes of mountaintops or stacks of building bricks, natural scenes of snow-capped mountains or an endless array of bright colours like yellow, orange and red. The paintings tend to include a strong sense of the Russian landscape, often conveying the idea of wide open spaces and deep tranquillity. The Wild Man, by Tsitsin, is perhaps the best known example in this context, as it includes a large number of brushstrokes and a powerful sense of emotion.
Another important aspect of the exhibition is that of the painting called Mother and Child. This is a charming example of the early Russian abstract expressionists like Pyotryle Khrenov and Vasili Oschepkov. The painting features a pair of mothers looking at a small child in a big blue bowl. The child appears to be sleeping on his mother’s lap, perhaps trying to feed him with a spoon. Through the smooth strokes of the painting, we can almost imagine the child enjoying the view from the bowl.
Other oil paintings from the DUBAI BILLIONAIRE PENTHOUSE AT THE DORCHESTER collection include Landscape with Figures and The Bridge. In addition to these two examples mentioned, the exhibition also includes Landscape With Figures by Vasili Oschepkov and The Bridge by Pyotryle Khrenov. All of these artists included landscapes which are characteristic of different parts of Russia. For example, there is a section which presents the works of Aleksey Pushkin who is very closely associated with the Moscow from which he received his art, and also includes The Bridge by Pyotryle Khrenov.
All the artists involved in this exhibition have strong Russian as their country of origin, although they have developed their style within the European context. For example, Khrenov has strong Russian connections, and his major works, such as The Bridge, have strong Russian associations. However, all of these artists have achieved great success within the context of contemporary art in Britain. This may be due to the influence of Fauvism within the art that is produced here. As well as this, the focus on commercial themes within contemporary oil painting and photography has played a major role in the development of these styles in Britain.
The full size oil painting format used in this exhibition will ensure that each participant is given the chance to view all of the work from the collection. It will be hoped that a greater understanding can be achieved about the various genres of work by the presenters of this exhibition. The work from the DUBAI BILLIONAIRE PENTHOUSE AT THE DORCHESTER COLLECTION can be purchased online from the organisers of this exhibition as it will not be touring the UK.