Sunday, August 11, 2013

En Plein Air à la Datcha

Vasili Kirilovich Nechitailo "Maria (Mariya) Savchenkova Painting En Plein Air"
1939  location unknown

Moscow-based artist Vasili Kirilovich Nechitailo (1915-1980) painted this lovely summer plein air piece in 1939. It looks like it was painted at a dacha, or summer house, a rustic cottage or shack in the country where Russian city dwellers vacation during the summer months. The subject of the piece is Nechitailo's wife, artist Maria (Mariya) Savchenkova (b.1917.) Almost no information can be found on Savchenkova, but there is some available on Nechitailo. He studied at the Krasnodar Art Technikum, the Surikov Institute and the Moscow Art Institute. During World War ll, when it looked like Moscow might fall to the Germans, the Soviet government made an interesting decision: to evacuate their most outstanding artists, those whom they deemed national cultural assets, along with some promising students who were believed to be on the path to "cultural assethood." Nechitailo was among the students shipped off to Uzbekistan. There they sat out the duration of the war in relative safety, returning to Moscow in 1944.

Nechitailo had a successful and productive career, teaching and exhibiting until his death in 1980.  I've not been able to find any record of his wife's death, so there is a chance that Maria (Mariya) Savchenkova is still living. If anyone reading this knows anything more about Savchenkova please let me know!

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