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Erik Bulatov (left), Zelfira Tregulova, Vladimir Potanin, Arkady Dvorkovich at the The State Tretyakov Gallery

The Tretyakov Gallery launched a long-term project to expand its Art Patrons and Donors Program. The program emphasizes filling in the gaps in its 20th — 21st century collection. The first donation under this program is the Potanin Foundation’s gift of «Painting and Audience», a large-format masterpiece by a leading contemporary artist, Erik Bulatov (born in 1933).

Vladimir Potanin: «The Tretyakov Gallery is symbolic of both our art and philanthropy. I am happy that the museum has been actively evolving, and that it remains interesting and vibrant to all. Regular expansion of the museum’s collection plays an important part in that, and it would be difficult to do so without support from the museum’s partners and friends. My hope is that today’s gift will set the stage for the next phase in the dynamic expansion of the Gallery’s collection, and will provide an example for other philanthropists to follow. It is an honor for me to be continuing the tradition of donating artwork for public enjoyment, a tradition which was started by Pavel Tretyakov, the Gallery’s founder himself».

Erik Bulatov, artist: «‘Painting and Audience’ has a special place in my life. I don’t think I have invested as much into any other painting, I really sweated this one out. The Tretyakov Gallery is the only appropriate place for this painting. It came out of me pondering [Alexander Ivanov’s] painting and the relationship between audience and art. I wanted to open up the space of the painting to let the viewer in, for the painting to penetrate the space of our mundane lives. This painting clearly reflects my principled position in art: to link up, to unite different eras and styles. This piece is not a disconnect, not different traditions in opposition; rather, it’s a connection between opposites, between avant-garde and traditional realism. I think it’s the crux of the matter, what should resolve the problem of unity in Russian art, otherwise we will not get anywhere».
Zelfira Tregulova, director of the State Tretyakov Gallery: «For many years I was asking myself — how do we deal with the fact that there are almost no paintings by one of the greatest living Russian artist, Erik Bulatov, here, in the Tretyakov Gallery, which in 2007 held one of the largest and most comprehensive retrospectives of this surprising artist? Several attempts to change this state of affairs brought no satisfying result. Only thanks to the Potanin Foundation has this long-standing dream become a reality. The Tretyakov Gallery received the gift of one of the artist’s most important art works, one that is closely linked to the key painting in the history of Russian art, „The Apparition of Christ To the People“ by Alexander Ivanov, the crown jewel of our collection».