VISIONARY REVUE



Religious cards:
The Blessed Gemma and Her Angel - c. 1934 (left)
Christ Child in the Sheep’s Fold - 1934 (right)


      Mgebrov reminds us that Kalmakoff shunned pity and remained proud to the end: "His misery was confronted heroically - in a dandy's coat, straight and narrow, which he designed himself." (KAL 7)
      To survive, Kalmakoff took on a number of odd commissions. At least two small prayer cards of the type sold in churches have been found in Kalmakoff's style and signed with his trademark 'K' monogram. It was thus that the painter of Satan, Astarte and various erotic works found himself illustrating The Blessed Gemma and her Angel (c 1934 above) and Christ Child in the Sheep’s Fold (1934 above). In the latter work, the infant Jesus bears a strange resemblance to Kalmakoff himself. Portrait of the Artist as the Christ Child?
      During the Second World War, Kalmakoff also did illustrations for the Nazi occupation forces in Paris - from whence we have the touching image of The Soldier and his Girl (1941 left). After slaughtering Resistance fighters in Paris, the tired Nazi soldier finally finds love in the arms of a French woman...
      Why didn't Kalmakoff exhibit his own Visionary works and try to sell them? Though his last exhibition at Galerie Charpentier (Paris) in 1928 garnered the




 
 
 


PARIS - SPRING 2004


The Women’s Den - 1940
(La Grotte aux Femmes)

artist many positive reviews, he felt himself misunderstood by his contemporaries. He feared he was surrounded by idiots and inferiors who failed to grasp the magnitude of his vision.
      The painter Ivanoff recalled: "Kalmakoff had formidible pride and, at the same time, a severe honesty. Despite his poverty, he never wanted to sell any of his works. And so, to survive, he had to find those odd jobs that he could do easily - pious images, engravings for the Germans..." (KAL 15)
      The pocketful of francs earned from these commissions barely kept him alive. Despite his strong will, asceticism and athleticism, Kalmakoff could not stave off the cold, ill health and slow starvation. Like Basil Hallward, the artist in Wilde's Picture of Dorian Grey, he craved for bodily immortality, hoping to find it through his art. If only the self-portraits would age, and he remain young! But it was not to be so: "The man was terribly poor and, what is worse, he felt himself getting older - something that, for him, was certainly a terrible catastrophe" - Anna Evreinoff (KAL 13)


 
 
 


<--LAST PAGE

 


NEXT PAGE -->

 
 


HOME

 


EDITORIAL

 


KALMAKOFF:
THE FORGOTTEN
VISIONARY

 


VISIONARY
ART
IN FRANCE

 


ERNST FUCHS
SPEAKS

 
 


KALMAKOFF
GALLERY

 


FRENCH
VISIONARY ART
GALLERY

 


MATI
KLARWEIN
REMEMBERED

 


KALMAKOFF
LINKS

 


FRENCH
VISIONARY ART
LINKS