Russian Chess Pro’s Fund for Tracking Down Soviet Art Finds Stalinist Masterpiece in Miami

Andrei Filatov, a Ukranian-born Russian billionaire and professional chess player with a serious case of nostalgia for the days of the USSR, has created the Filatov Family Art Fund to help build on his collection of Soviet-era artworks. Its most recent purchase, Le Figaro reports, is a version of tw0-time Stalin Prize winner (in 1949 and 1951) Fyodor Pavlovich Reshetnikov‘s masterpiece “Opyat Dvoika” (“Another F?”) that predates the version held in the permanent collection of Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery, according to the gallery’s curator of post-war art Natalia Alexandrova.

The Filatov Fund purchased this older version of the work — dated from late 1948 or early 1949 — from a Miami-based collector. It had been brought to the U.S. by a Soviet family that emigrated when the USSR collapsed in 1991. They had purchased the work directly from the family of Reshetnikov, who was considered one of the greatest masters of Socialist Realism, the state-sanctioned aesthetic.

The painting, which was so popular it was adapted into a comic book in 1957 and was printed in all the Soviet schoolbooks throughout the 1950s, portrays a young boy coming home to his family with a bad grade. His mother and sister greet him with expressions of extreme disappointment, while his younger brother smiles gleefully, presumably in anticipation of the punishment that will be doled out imminently to his older sibling. Only the family dog is oblivious to the unfolding drama, jumping up eagerly on the struggling student.

According to Alexandrova, the Filatov Fund’s version of the painting must be older than that belonging to the Tretyakov Gallery because in the latter’s version a painting-within-the-painting that hangs on the dining room wall is fully rendered and painted in great detail. In the Miami version of the work, that detail is less fully executed.

Filatov Fund was launched in November of last year with the intent of purchasing between 10 to 12 paintings, drawings, or sculptures per year from the Soviet era (1917-1991) and bringing them back to Russia.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Image: Detail from Fyodor Pavlovich Reshetnikov, “Opyat dvoyka,” 1952. Via Wikipedia.)