Ilya Tabenkin

Ilya Tabenkin (1914–1988), Belorussian Jewish painter, graphic artist, sculptor. Father of Lev Tabenkin. Studied at the 1905 School of Art and Vasily Surikov Institute of Art. Arrested and exiled to Central Asia. Member of the Union of Artists. Painted metaphysical still-lifes.
Born: 1914, Mazyr (Minsk Province)
Died: 1988, Moscow

Painter, graphic artist, sculptor. Father of Lev Tabenkin. Born in the family of a Belorussian Jew called Lev Tabenkin in the town of Mazyr (or Mozyr) near Homel (1914). Moved with his family to Moscow (1923), where he studied under Mikhail Sokolov at the 1905 School of Art (1932–34). Arrested for sending a parcel of paints to an imprisoned friend (1934), held at Butyrki Prison (1934–35) and sent to build railways in Kazakhstan (1935–38). Exiled to Uzbekistan, where he studied under Igor Grabar at the Moscow Institute of Fine Arts/Vasily Surikov Institute of Art (1943–49), which had been evacuated to Samarkand during the Second World War. Member of the Union of Artists (1951). Worked on official commissions for artistic combines (1950s), before rejecting traditional painting in favour of Formalist experiments in colour (1960s). Created figurines from clay, plasticine and papier-mâché (1970s) and painted metaphysical still-lifes (1970s–80s). Included in Sotheby’s landmark auction of Russian avant-garde and Soviet contemporary art in Moscow (1988). Died in Moscow and buried at Vostryakovo Cemetery in Moscow (1988). Contributed to exhibitions in the Soviet Union (from 1941) and abroad (from 1988). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Group of Sixteen in Moscow (1968, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1985, 1988), USSR is Our Motherland in Moscow, Chi?in?u, Kiev, Odessa and Baku (1972), Ars Sovietica 88 in Helsinki (1988), Russian Avant-Garde and Modern Soviet Art in Moscow (1990), 5+1 pintores de Moscovo at the Fundação de Serralves in Porto (1990–91), Art Myth 2 at the Manège Central Exhibition Hall in Moscow (1991), Tokyo Art Expo (1991), Times of Change: Art in the Soviet Union (1960–85) at the Russian Museum in St Petersburg (2006), joint exhibitions with Simona Mirenskaya at the Union of Artists in Moscow (1979), with Igor Ganikovsky, Yury Zlotnikov, Yury Kamelin and Natalia Smolyanskaya at the Galleria Otso in Espoo (1991) and with Lev Tabenkin at the Moscow International Art Salon in the Central House of the Artist in Moscow (1998) and one-man shows at the Palace of Culture in Vilnius (1983), Today Gallery in Moscow (1991), RusArta Gallery in Moscow (2001), Matthew Bown Gallery in London (2005), Central House of the Artist in Moscow (2006) and Vellum Gallery at the Khudgraf 2009 Fourth Graphic Arts Fair in the New Manège Exhibition Hall in Moscow (2009).

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