Exhibition: The Art of Alexander Gassel – St Petersburg from May 20


The Museum of Russian Icons presents the contemporary paintings of Russian-American artist and designer Alexander Gassel. Blending the avant-garde with traditional Russian iconography, combining ancient symbols with contemporary subjects, the artist creates surrealist works that reflect his cultural heritage alongside his experience of life in America. The exhibition will start on May 20, 2018 and end on January 6, 2019.

The artist had plenty of influences that influenced his work. During the Soviet period, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and other stylistic European trends were suppressed. Also, it was absolutely forbidden in the Soviet Union to exhibit contemporary religious paintings.

His own painting style is derived as much from icon painting as it is from his discovery of the suppressed early 20th master of Russian painters such as Chagall, Kandinsky, and Malevich. Gassel describes seeing their works hidden in storage areas of Soviet museums.

The exhibition of the Contemporary paintings by Russian artist Alexander Gassel will take place in the Museum of Russian Icons Auditorium from May 20, 2018 to January 6, 2019. To get more information from the exhibition CLICK HERE. The museum closes on Mondays and the entrance fee is 10 dollars, the same amount of money that Gassel had when he emigrated to the US the year 1980.

About the life of Alexander Gassel

Alexander Gassel (born in 1947) graduated from Moscow Institute of Arts and Graphics in 1970 with an MA in Fine Arts. From 1970 to 1980 he worked at the Grabar Center for the Restoration and Preservation of Art in Moscow, restoring and copying medieval tempera paintings, as well as collecting and assessing icons that were being removed from churches across Russia and brought to Moscow for conservation and display. Influenced by this experience, the artist began to create his own original paintings – for the most part personal interpretations of Biblical events. At that time, it was absolutely forbidden in the Soviet Union to exhibit contemporary religious paintings.

Gassel immigrated to the United States in 1980 with $10 in his pocket and no knowledge of the English language. He was not allowed to bring any of his artwork with him because by law no religious art could leave the country. He found work as a draftsman for a railroad company and painted on weekends. Eventually, he had an exhibition where he sold enough paintings to quit his job and once again work as an artist and icon conservator full-time.

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