He had always been, and it seemed as he would always be there. His life is a work of art. And Painting is alive like Life.
And suddenly this life story ended. And it became visible and completed. You can see it at an exhibition in the Central House of Artists. This is the most complete exhibition of works by Moses Feigin. From the family archives. These are the works that he collected and kept for his exhibition. This is an opportunity to see his mysterious graphics and meet Jesus, Charlie, Don Quixote and the Little Violinist.
The brightest and youngest works were written after he turned 100. Each of his paintings is full of joy and grief, they sing and dance, speak and effect the viewer like a blow. He outlived both his teachers and his students, but he never managed to grow old. He died young at the age of 104.
“Once upon a time the members of art unions wrote “free artist” in the occupation column”, art critic William Mayland recalls. “Moses Feigin did not need to document this definition. He was truly and absolutely free and could repeat the proud words of Osip Mandelstam: "We will go through life, but we will not glorify either theft, or day labor, or lies."
Moses Alexandrovich is one of the oldest Russian artists of the 20th century. He became known to the general public only in the last years of his life, when after a long break his personal exhibitions were organized in London and Moscow. He was born in 1904 and during his long and difficult life he witnessed numerous events.
Having moved to Moscow from Warsaw three years before the revolution, he enrolled into the legendary VKHUTEMAS (Russian State Art and Technical School). His teachers were Pyotr Konchalovsky, Ilya Mashkov, Aristarkh Lentulov and especially revered Alexander Osmerkin and Lyubov Popova. Feigin’s teachers were predominantly participants of the first association of Russian avant-garde artists called "Jack of Diamonds".
A thread stretches through his art from nineteen twenties and all the way to the nineties, from the modern art of the early 20th century through the omnipotent realism of the middle of the century and onto contemporary postmodernism. In fact, the entire 20th century he lived through with all its terrible upheavals became a single event for Feigin. Even if you simply list the names of some of his paintings and series, you will realize how wide and varied the range of the artist’s interests was - he conducted his own "Conversation with God", with the characters of Bulgakov’s books, and with his own memory.
Feigin did not speak at noisy meetings and discussions of exhibitions, did not write declarations and was generally quiet and hardly noticeable in external life. His doubts, struggles and passions were fully realized within the walls of the workshop.
The inner pulsation and general tension are always palpable in his paintings. Moreover, the free movement of lines and colors is increasing from year to year. At the age of seventy, ninety, and - although hard to imagine - at the age of 100, he constantly expanded and asserted his plastic freedom.
Tragic perception of the world led him to broken lines. This can be expressly seen in the repetitive image of the Violinist, who appears as a poor Pierrot, or as an awkward brute in a black tailcoat. His "Theater Bill" painting looks like a satire on today's facelessness. It depicts a man with two masks, merry and sad, one of which he has over his face, and the other in his hand. There is no face on it, but there is an inscription: "I Laugh and I Cry".
The only face among these faceless or generalized images is the artist himself. In his self-portraits, we can see the sad and thoughtful gaze of a person who looks at the world with grief and sorrow.
The artist's relatives in Russia managed to preserve his most significant works. Priceless paintings by Moses Feigin are now kept in the finest private collections around the world.