The Russian artist who nurtured generations of Chinese artists

Artist and soldier Evsey Moiseyenko's iconic works such as "The Reds Have Arrived!" and "Sweet Cherries" had a great impact on the artists of communist China.

Perhaps there is no foreign art style like Russian that has so strongly influenced generations of Chinese artists.

Since the 1950s and 1960s, Russian art swept nearly all the art academies in China.

An exhibition entitled “Collection from the State Russian Museum — Moiseyenko Art Exhibition” at the Liu Haisu Art Museum revisits the contribution of Russian art to China.

“Evsey Moiseyenko’s creations became a symbol of patriotism among Chinese people,” says Li Chao, the museum’s vice director.

Moiseyenko (1916-88), who entered the Repin Academy of Fine Arts in 1936, often focused on military subjects. 

He fought in the Siege of Leningrad (1941-44) during World War II as a militiaman and later joined the cavalry.

During the war, the artist savored the intimate and constant contact with life and death, experienced the agony of a concentration camp and ultimately saw the thrill of victory.

Masterpieces such as “The Reds Have Arrived!” and “Sweet Cherries” were widely used as teaching materials in the 1950s and 60s in Chinese art academies.

The exhibition at Liu Haisu Art Museum features 13 of his best-known works.

“There is always a humanistic concern wafting over his canvas,” says Li. “The dramatic scenario with a poetic feel and the serene scene plus a touching moment all conjure up a unique ambience.”

For example, “Sweet Cherries” highlights the red cherry on the army cap of the soldiers, which indicates not only the bright future, but also the bloody war.

“We wanted to discuss how to reflect history through art,” Li says. “I think this is the mission that faces today’s Chinese artists.”

Exhibition details

Date: Through January 31 (closed on Monday), 9am-5pm

Venue: Liu Haisu Art Museum

Address: 1609 Yan’an Rd W.

The works of Russian artist and soldier Evsey Moiseyenko have influenced generations of Chinese artists.

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