Click the white bird on the blue palette to subscribe to hear about all my workshops, events, and videos before the general public. Some announcements will contain incentives offered only to members on this list. Subscribe yourself and receive a free (pdf) gift from me!

Jan 29, 2013

Nicholai Fechin Exhibition . . .

The Fry Art Museum in Seattle, Washington will host an exhibition of paintings by Nicholai Fechin. This will be a brief presentation of work rarely seen in the Pacific Northwest. So put it on your calendar now!

Lady in Pink, Nicholai Fechin

Fechin preferred to paint with oil-starved color and used a dry-brush technique to create his rich surfaces of color. His abstract compositions and drawing skills were astonishing and he completely eschewed the use of any medium or solvent because he felt they destructive to the layering of color. It's hard to argue with that after seeing his work.

Here is a favorite quote from him because it explains my own point of view:
“As a matter of fact an artist has to deal with only three basic colors: red, blue, yellow (all the rest are combinations of these fundamental colors). Everyone knows this, but few pay attention to the fact. Thus, the first step for the artist is to learn to see these primary colors and to distinguish them separately one from the other.”   –  Nicolai Fechin
Of course, then there is:
"For my own work, I do not like to use medium. This dissolves the paints too much. The pigments mix together and cannot retain their individual distinctiveness and thus again lose much of their fresh intensity."
And finally:
"Any standardization is negative in its meaning. If conventional shades and colors are used, the ability to see them in reality is lost. It is essential that the artist should regard every new painting as an entirely special world of color, light, form and line. Every new canvas is a completely new challenge."

Truly a painter to inspire you!

From the Fry Art Museum website:
In 1911, place of honor in the Annual Winter Exhibition of the National Academy of Design in New York was assigned to a painting by thirty-year old Russian artist Nicolai Fechin (1881–1955). His “savage, splendid, and heterogeneous” canvas displayed a “barbaric mastery of form and color.” Fechin’s early preference for thick layers of color and pigment with very little oil, and a penchant for conflating the real and the abstract, would bring him international acclaim in the first decades of the 20th century . . . 
(click to continue reading on the Fry website)


So don't miss this opportunity to see Nicholai Fechin's "savage, splendid, and heterogeneous" work. He was a direct descendant of the 19th century Russian Itinerants (Передви́жники) who were some of Imperial Russia's greatest painters, among the best was the master artist Ilya Repin, whom Fechin studied under. Much of today's contemporary realism descends from this line.

I'll be going. Hope to see you there!


5 reader comments:

Shirley Goff said...

Fechin's house in Taos is breathtaking. I believe he built it himself of local wood using only an axe in the Russian peasant manner. Then the wood was treated with a bees wax substance. Very tactile and beautiful.

Thomas Jefferson Kitts said...

Shirley, Fechin's house sounds beautiful and very Wabi-sabi, if you'll permit me to mix my cultures. Perhaps I will get to see it someday. One thing I forgot to highlight is that this PNW exhibition will focus on Fechin's earlier Russian work. Before he came to America and then the SW. Which makes it even more rare today. I am so looking forward to this show...

seamusberkeley said...


Thanks for posting about this exhibit. I've had the good fortune of living in Taos and thereby plenty of opportunity to view Fechin's work in person. It is absolutely fabulous work and inspiring to see and study his paint application.

Also met and painted one of Fechin's favorite models: his daughter Eya (http://seamusberkeley.com/show/P0005) shortly before her passing.


Seamus Berkeley

Albert. S said...

Thomas, good post and indeed inspiring as well. The last quote from Fechin hits it right on the button. That every picture is a new adventure. I totally dig that and very true. I've heard other artists say that you need to see the picture in your head already finished before you begin. I've never agreed to this idea ....and still dont. Btw....I wish I could make the trip to Seattle but fat chance..lol Maybe someday they will stop by San Diego...:)

my best, Albert

Thomas Jefferson Kitts said...

Albert, I totally agree with you. Here's a quote from which I have appropriated as my motto:

“Go to nature with no parti pris. You should not know what your picture is to look like until it is done. Just see the picture that is coming." – Sorolla

How's that?