IIn 2008, Moses Feigin was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest working artist on the planet at that time. At the time he was 103 years old.
In his last years, Moses Feigin practically went blind, but nevertheless, he continued to paint. “He could not help painting. Many of these paintings were done at night,” says the artist's daughter Anna. He outlived both his students and his teachers, among whom were Konchalovsky, Mashkov and Osmerkin - members of the legendary avant-garde group the "Jack of Diamonds".
When he was asked about his attitude towards the work of the great artists of the past, Feigin just brushed it off - "They are all boys - Rubens, and Leonardo, and Rembrandt." As an artist, Moses Feigin established himself in the last decades of his life, when he got the opportunity to paint what he wanted. Before that, for years, like many at that time, he was forced to earn a living by doing official orders - portraits of the Politburo members.
“Once he was ordered to paint a four-story Stalin's head for a skyscraper on Kotelnicheskaya embankment. To assess his work, the artist had to climb to the height of the 29th floor of an unfinished building several times a day,” the artist's grandson Leonid Feigin recalls.
“In 1959, the American National Exhibition was held in Moscow. The exposition of contemporary US art seemed to liberate the artist. Since then, his paintings resemble some kind of endless carnival, where all the heroes are tragic,” says the artist's daughter Anna Feigin.
The exhibition at the Pushkin Museum will show only a small part of the creative heritage of Moses Feigin. And it's not that the museum didn't have enough space. It's just that most of the canvases were destroyed by the artist himself during his lifetime, explains the curator of the exhibition Anna Chuditskaya. Because of poverty, which was turned into a principle by Moses Feigin himself, he did not buy new canvases, but created new paintings over the old ones, similar to how icon painters did it. Thus, looking at any of these canvases, viewers can only guess what is hidden under the numerous layers of Moses Feigin's paints.