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18 Dec 2018

Michel Kikoine’s Still Life donated to National Art Museum of Belarus

Michel Kikoine’s Still Life donated to National Art Museum of Belarus

MINSK, 18 December (BelTA) – The Still Life painting by Michel Kikoine, a native of Belarus and a representative of the School of Paris, was donated to the National Art Museum of Belarus in a solemn ceremony on 18 December, BelTA has learned.

Belarusian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleg Kravchenko, Belarus’ Honorary Consul in Lausanne Andrei Nazheskin, Charge d'Affaires of the Embassy of Belarus in Switzerland Pavel Matsukevich, Deputy State Secretary of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland Krystyna Marty Lang, and the head of the Swiss diplomatic mission to Belarus Claude Altermatt took part in the ceremony.

It is important that paintings by famous compatriots make their way back to Belarus, Oleg Kravchenko said at the ceremony. “Michel Kikoine’s Still Life continues the tradition of bringing back the names of prominent compatriots into the cultural context of Belarus with the support of our diplomats. This became possible thanks to the support of friends of Belarus. Without the support of Belarus’ Honorary Consul in Lausanne Andrei Nazheskin today’s event would have been impossible. I would like to acknowledge active efforts of the Belarusian embassy in Switzerland and to thank the National Art Museum for cooperation. I would also like to welcome our colleagues from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs who are attending the ceremony today,” Oleg Kravchenko said.

In his words, the two countries maintain robust political, trade and economic cooperation. Some famous people - natives of Belarus had ties with Switzerland. The number includes the national hero of many countries Tadeusz Kosciuszko, the art patron Magdalena Radziwill, Europe’s first female professor Anna Tumarkina, and the painter Marc Chagall whose stained glass windows are a trademark of Zurich.

Michel Kikoine’s works can be found in private collections and public museums in France, USA, Japan, Israel, and Russia. “I am pleased that the country’s top art museum now has a work of his in its collection while Belarusians have been given an opportunity to get a closer look at the art of their prominent compatriot,” noted the Belarusian deputy minister of foreign affairs.

Andrei Nazheskin told BelTA that the retrieval of the painting had been a rather complicated process. The panting was initially on display in a museum in Geneva. Once the museum was closed, the painting was moved to the USA. When Belarusian diplomats in Switzerland learned that the painting is in Florida, long negotiations on buying the picture began and ended in successful acquisition.

Representatives of the National Art Museum of Belarus said that vigorous re-actualization of forgotten and unknown pages of Belarusian culture and art began in the late 1980s due to Perestroika. The process of bringing the names of artists out of oblivion began back then. Art study papers started mentioning Marc Chagall, Kazimir Malevich, El Lissitzky, and other names in the late 1980s. In the 21st century Belarusians rediscovered artists of the famous School of Paris – an international community of painters, which took root in Paris in the first half of the 20th century. Painters with Belarusian roots played a prominent role in it.

The gift of Michel Kikoine’s painting represents an important step on the way towards a full-featured collection. After thorough studies the picture will be demonstrated at various exhibitions in the National Art Museum and other venues. Later on the picture may be exhibited in Gomel where Michel Kikoine grew up. As far as Belarusian collections are concerned, his art is represented in Belgazprombank’s corporate collection, which has five works by Michel Kikoine. All of them are on the list of historical and cultural values of the Republic of Belarus.

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