VISIONARY REVUE


Leda and the Swan - 1917




NICHOLAS KALMAKOFF
AT GALERIE CHARPENTIER, PARIS 1928
Above on his right is The Negresse and above on his left is Atlas and the Hesperides. Like hundreds of other paintings by Kalmakoff, the third painting on his lower left may be lost forever.



 
 
 


PARIS - SPRING 2004

KALMAKOFF: THE FORGOTTEN VISIONARY

18 PAGE ARTICLE

L. Caruana

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INTRODUCTION

      In 1955, a Russian émigré died alone, unknown and in poverty at the hôpital de Lagny to the north of Paris. After leading a hermit's existence in his small room at the hotel de la Rochefoucault in Paris, this former Russian aristocrat had created a fascinating body of work which, deemed eccentric and worthless, was locked away in storage and forgotten.
      Throughout his solitary life, the artist had painted works that reflected his various obsessions with martyrdom, asceticism, decadence, spirituality and sexuality. Executed in a style marked by the Russian art nouveau, his imagery nevertheless transcended this movement, bearing undeniable traces of demented vision, indeed, genius.
      Only in 1962 did some of his works come to light when Bertrand Collin du Bocage and Georges Martin du Nord discovered forty canvases in the Marché aux Puces, a large flea market to the north of Paris. All the works in this unusual collection were signed with a stylized 'K' monogram.
      The Hungarian merchant who sold the lot to them included with it a poster of an exhibition held in Galerie Le Roy, Brussels, in 1924. Here, for the first time, the full name of the mysterious 'K' was revealed - Nicolas Kalmakoff.


 
 
 


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