Expelled from art school for his antisocial behavior, Zverev remained an outsider, excluded from all groups and the official Union of Artists. Surprisingly, at the Moscow World Youth Festival in 1957, an international jury discovered his talent and awarded him the gold medal in a competition of contemporary artists. The authorities, however, disapproved, and tried to silence news of the award.
At that same festival, Zverev discovered Abstract Expressionism. He adapted this gestural and spontaneous method while retaining figurative motifs. Self-Portrait is a characteristic example of his talent for capturing facial traits in a combination of unmediated self-expression and thoughtful composition. As a result, the motif seems to appear and disappear within the lines, splotches and colors. These formal qualities make Zverev’s paintings at once decorative and enigmatic.
self-portraits; artists; abstract
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