The exhibition presents the works of a prominent and unique artist –
a student of professor of painting O.O.Osmerkin, painter, graphic artist, sculpture Yosyp
Naumovych Vaisblat, which were given to O.O.Osmerkin Art-Memorial Museum funds by PhD in
Technical Sciences, researcher of the problem of historical topography of Babyn Yar,
Kyivan Lev Yievhenovych Drobiazko.
Paintings and graphic works from the museum collection are complemented
by the posters with photo and documentary materials of Yosyp Vaisblat’s criminal case,
which was opened against him by the Soviet punitive agency in 1951. Grand-nephew of the
artist, historian of art and publisher Artur Rudzitskyi was studying the materials in the
FSB archives of the Russian Federation in the 2010s and represented his notes in the
article “To search, to dare, to think. Case of the artist Yosyp Vaisblat by materials of
the archives of NKVD-FSB”, published in the magazine “Antykvar”, ¹1, 2014.
Fragments of the original text of Yo.N.Vaisblat’s examinations in the prison in
Lefortovo, Moscow, and also pages of life with a documental preciseness are illustrated by
the reproductions of the artist’s works from the series: “Arrest”, “Babyn Yar”,
“GULAG”, “My life”, kindly given for the exhibition by Nelli Aronivna Drobiazko.
Yosyp Naumovych Vaisblat was born in Kyiv on March 2,
1897 in the family of a prominent theologian – chief rabbi in kyiv N.Ya.Vaisblat
(1864-1925). There were 11 children in the family, many of his brothers became well-known
culture workers and scientists – publisher, translator and art historian V.N.Vaisblat
91882-1945), M.D. S.N.Vaisblat (1888-1965).
Yo.N.Vaisblat graduated from Kyiv Art College, where he studied during
1912-1918 in the studios of F.H.Krychevskyi. In 1920 he moved to Moscow to continue his
studying and entered sculpture class of S.V.Volnukhin and B.Koroliov in Free Art Studios
(since 1921 VKHUTEMAS - Higher Art and Technical Studios) and at the same time studied
painting in O.O.Osmerkin’s studio. A member of the Union of Artists of the Russian SFSR
since 1937, of Moscow organization of the Union of Artists (MOSKH). A participant of many
creative exhibitions in Moscow (1934, 1936, 1958).
At the beginning of the 1950s, Yo.N.Vaisblat was stricken by a sad fate
of many representatives of the creative intellectuals of the USSR – arrest, law
enforcement investigation, years of Stalin’s concentration camps. Four years (1951-1954)
of physical and moral sufferings, was working at the construction of Volhs-Don channel as
a political prisoner, left a heavy imprint in his life. The artist had to renew his
professional skills and his desire to create in order to reflect reality of the country
where he lived graphically, clearly and convincingly, helped him.
Yosyp Naumovych Vaisblat died in Moscow in 1979.
A lot of the artist’s works were dedicated to the topic of genocide
committed by nazi and communism regimes. Unfortunately, the majority of the artist’s
works disappeared during the war and the arrest, and also ended up in private collections
in Moscow, the USA, Germany. Some works are kept in Samara Art Museum (Russia) and
Institute of Jewish Sciences (Kyiv).
The oeuvre of Yo.N.Vaisblat has been forgotten for a long time. Only
after the collapse of the USSR and consolidation of independent Ukraine and free art
space, the works of the artist took rightful place in art and were exhibited in Kyiv
galleries “Tadzio” and “Mytets”, Museum of History of Kyiv and also at the
exhibitions “Jewish theme in the works of Kyiv artists” in “Ukrainskyi dim” in
Kyiv and “Jewish culture in Ukraine” in London. In December 2001, the exhibition of
paintings and graphic works of Yo.N.Vaisblat from the private collection of L.Ye.Drobiazko
was successfully presented in the museum before the 109th anniversary of the artist and
pedagogue O.O.Osmerkin’s birth.
The current exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Lev Yevhenovych
Drobizako (1937-2017), who in fact was the first researcher of life and creative work of
Yo.N.Vaisblat and took great efforts to renew the name of the artist, a repressed by the
Soviet regime, in modern art world.