Oil on canvas
138,5 х 114,2
State Russian Museum
Пост. в 1926 из МХК через ГИНХУК, Ленинград
Unlike his fellow painters in the Knave of Diamonds, Falk did not hide his interest in psychologism, which is especially evident in his portrait work. Like other “Knaves”, Falk achieved expressive volume in his shapes, and painted angular spots of saturated colours. “During this period, I loved vivid, contrasting combinations and generalised expressive contours, even emphasising them with dark paint,” he wrote in later years. Falk’s canvases differ from his colleagues’, which are bubbling with cheerfulness, in that they possess a somewhat gloomy sensibility and hidden drama. These are found not in the subjects, but in the very structure of the paintings themselves. Frequently, the artist used just one tone to create the colour mood of the painting. Using elements of Cubist displacement, he built up his portraits with dynamic, arrow-like lines; by reading them, like the lines on one’s palm, it seemed possible to tell a person’s future. The sharp, nervous Portrait of an Unknown Man is such a painting.
Falk, Robert Rafailovich (1886, Moscow — 1958, Moscow)
Painter, graphic artist, theatrical designer. Studied at the Konstantin Juon and Ivan Dudin School of Drawing and Painting and Ilya Mashkov’s studio in Moscow (1903–1905) and the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1905–1909). Founding member of the Knave of Diamonds (1911). Member and exhibitor of the Knave of Diamonds (1910–1927), World of Art (1911–1917, 1921–1922), Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (1925–1928) and the Society of Moscow Artists (1925–1928). Worked at IZI Narkompros (1918–1921) and the Institute of Artistic Culture (1920). Lived and worked in Paris (1928–1937) and Moscow (1937–1958). Professor of the State Free Art Studios/VKhUTEMAS/VKhUTEIN (1918–1928) and the Moscow Institute of Applied and Decorative Art (1945–1958).