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ArtistsViktor Midler

Midler, Viktor Markovich

(b. 1888 shtetl of Tomashpol, Kamenets-Podolsky guberniya – d. 1979 Moscow)

Painter, graphic artist

Completed public school, enrolled at the Nemirov Gymnasium, then graduated from Novorossiysky University in Odessa.

1908–1913 – Studied at the Odessa Higher Art College under G. Ladyzhensky and K. Kostandi.

Participated in exhibitions beginning in 1917.

1918 – Member of the Union of Independent Artists in Odessa.

1924–1929 – Member of the Four Arts Society.

1919 – Worked in Odessa as a decorator at festivities dedicated to the Revolution.

1923 – Joined the State Tretyakov Gallery as the chief curator of the collection of contemporary Russian painting.

1927 – Sent to France and Germany in order to study museum management and to get acquainted with the work of Russian artists abroad.

1928 – Organized an exhibition of modern European art in Moscow.

“Artists kept gathering together and furiously debating artistic issues until in the end they finally formed a rather broad society comprised of a large number of members and exhibitors. But many were confused by the name of their society: why exactly had it been called “The Four Arts”? The nub of the matter was as follows: the society’s objectives went beyond merely providing a simple forum for exhibiting one’s artwork. Following the victory of the Great October Revolution, modernity, with its grandiose plans of enlightenment and bringing culture to the masses, naturally demanded a reappraisal of the former attitude towards art as being an isolated part of society’s cultural life.

It was necessary to introduce visual arts into ordinary life, which would enable art to participate in a common cause, by elevating and ennobling people and giving them the joy of gaining an aesthetic perception of the surrounding world. In order to carry out this objective, we thought that a comprehensive introduction of all four visual arts — painting, sculpture, graphic art and architecture — was needed.”

Elena Bebutova and Pavel Kuznetsov, “The Four Arts Society”

Borba za realizm v izobrazitelnom iskusstve 20-kh godov: materialy, dokumenty, vospominanya [The struggle for Realism in visual Arts in the 1920s: Materials, Documents, Memoirs]. M.: Sovetsky Khudozhnik, 1962. P. 233.

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