UFI PRODUCTIONS, LLC
About the project
The hit of the hammer, which sounded on April 22 in the New York halls of Sotheby’s, put a stop. The long saga ended: 86 works of Odessa modernist artists from the beginning of the 20th century from the Jacob’s Peremen collection were sold for 198,600 dollars. Happy end, all happy: paintings and drawings have acquired the Ukrainian foundation, the works will return to their homeland. If you ponder – a bitter end and an evil irony of fate. Not at all, the passionate Zionist of Change, dreamed about when he took his collection to Palestine.
Jacob Peremen collected not popular in Odessa, but the secondary landscape painters of the southern school, and a true modernist, funded the activities of the Odessa Society of Independent Artists. The tone in society was asked by Jewish artists: Amshie Nurenberg, Isaac Malik, Theophil Frayerman, Israel Meksin and others. Among them was the elder brother of Elijah Ilfa Alexander, who signed his works with a sonorous Italian pseudonym Sandro Fazini, a very talented artist who died in Auschwitz.
These artists were called “Odessa Parisians”. They were called not for nothing – in their bright, sometimes decorative works felt the strong influence of Matisse, Gauguin, Cezanne, Van Gogh. Creativity of “independent” was distinguished on the general background by the novelty of themes and the originality of their interpretation. Critics noted that young artists are attracted by the field of “mysticism, exoticism and erotica”, bright colors, fantastic motifs. Like European painters, Odessa’s modernists depicted dancers and fallen women, scenes in cafes, carnival and street scenes.
In the course of the study it became clear that in Odessa itself, the work of “independent” almost did not survive. Thus, the Collection of Change is currently the only one, where the painting and graphics of the Odessa innovators are presented so full. In this context, the Israeli collection of the Odessa avant-garde gets a special unique significance.
In May 1932, before the discovery of the Tel Aviv Museum, Mayor Meir Dizengof asked Peremen to provide paintings worthy of keeping in the museum. The collector refused, not wanting to break the collection. Pictures of the Odessa avant-garde continued to hang in his Tel Aviv apartment, the main thing life remained unclaimed. About his collections have been forgotten, the works of “Odessa Parisians” even began to be considered forever lost in the chaos of the civil war. Only after the death of Peremen in the 1960s was organized a posthumous apartment exhibition, and a few years ago the paintings began to be exhibited in Israeli museums, including the Museum of Russian Art in Ramat Gan.
However, even today, neither at the state nor at the private level in Israel, there were no people capable of realizing the value of the assembly and realizing the dream of Change. After nearly 100 years of his collection, a unique testimony to the history of Jewish Odessa, once again went on a journey. As reported from New York, the fund was bought by the Ukrainian Avant-Garde Foundation.