Item #AT-0463

Valerian Mikhailovich Formozov (1921 - 2004) "River Vorya in Spring Time"


Valerian Mikhailovich Formozov (1921 - 2004)"River Vorya in Spring Time" Oil on Canvas Board
Signed lower left and Verso
Private Collection Rumson NJ.




27 7/8 "H x 19 7/8"W


22"H x 30"W

Valerian Mikhailovich Formozov was born in 1921 into the family of a priest in the village of Tepelevo, in Russia's Gorky region. In 1937 he entered the Art School of Gorky. He became a Red Army soldier in 1940, and served in the Great Patriotic War. In 1946, he was awarded the Patriotic War Order for his valor and received a number of medals.

Upon his release from the army, he entered the Latvian Art Academy in Riga where he studied under Edward Kalnynsh and Jan Tilberg. He graduated from the Gorky Art School in 1949 and from the Latvian Art Academy in 1952. Formozov taught at Latvia's two leading art schools in Riga from 1952 to 1964. In 1953 he was invited to join the Union of Artists of Latvia. He was chosen to become a member of the Union of Russian Artists in 1956, and was invited to the "Academic Dacha (country house) named after Repin" near Vyshny Volochek, which he visited at least once a year thereafter.

In 1964 he moved to Moscow and began working in a Union of Russian Artists studio. In 1967, he bought a log cabin in the Tver region close to the Academic Dacha, where he spent most of his time painting. He was finally able to settle in a countryside where, he said, "wherever you look subjects ask you to paint them."

With his rich heritage of academic training and love for creating art en plein-air, Formozov developed his own impressionistic style which is luminous and strong in composition and which he intends to convey from sensitivity and understanding of nature's subtle but powerful influences, and of the profound effect seasonal cycles have on people, animals and landscapes. Although nature is a constant source of inspiration for the artist, several series have emerged and evolved which reflect his sensitivity to certain events and circumstances of his life.

In his work, he searched for understanding of events that war left in its wake, not only on himself, but on other soldiers as well. Yet, his paintings are not political in their content.

His series on the post-war fate of peasant women emerged from the legacy of his time: the war time destruction, the depopulation of rural areas for the sake of collectivism, Khruschev's various "experiments". His paintings ask and, at the same time, answer the question: "Will the wounds of the people's soul ever heal?"
Hardship, loneliness, and life's miseries are portrayed against a colorful backdrop of bright quilts, in warm, neat and orderly surroundings. Hope, love and acceptance have made these women accept their fate and the fate of their homeland. These paintings are historical in their content and will be a legacy for future generations.

His village motifs series depict the simple, serene and rhythmic existence in small villages. The repetitiveness of the seasons impart a calm, peaceful effect on everyday life: the same chores need to be done year after year. Such acceptance provides serenity amid chaos and the hardships that lie ahead. Life goes on.

Formozov seeks his inspiration in the poetry of nature, its rhythm. He describes it himself: "I am fascinated by a landscape in the moonlight. I take incredible pleasure in working on a quiet, frosty, moon-filled night during winter, autumn, or a warm April evening. I enjoy working alone when everyone is asleep and I am in a solitary tete-a-tete with nature. I work with inspiration. I hear a dog barking lazily in the night, the ice cracking on the river, a wolf howling far or even near. And I, I stand and practice witchcraft at my canvas."

From 1967 to 1990 Formozov was an active participant of the Baltic Republics, All Russia, and Moscow exhibitions. Exhibitions outside Russia include: "A Night in Old Moscow" at the Meridian International House, Washington, DC; One-Man Show at the International Club, Washington, DC; One-Man Show at Décor - Landscapes and Portraits 1945-1993, Greenwich, CT; Exhibition for "A Salute to Van Cliburn" sponsored by the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, Washington, DC; Paris, France; Exhibition at Atlanta Art Expo, Atlanta, GA 1995.

*Overland Gallery of Art