"37/101. Prologue" Literature and Art project
On its 125th anniversary the V.D. Polenov State Museum of Fine Arts and National Park announces a large-scale project 37/101. Prologue, about the almost unknown history of the estate and Polenovs’family after the Russian Revolution, spanning 1918-1937, the most transformative period of country and its people. It is about the life of the Polenov family and the residents of the area - Byokhovo, Strakhovo, Tarusa.
The project’s title derives from the significant dates and stirring times - the century after the Revolution, the Great Terror of 1937-1938 as well as the distance of 101 km from the capital cities, which was defined for members of repressed families. Geographically the estate of Polenovo (135 km from Moscow) located in that area, it was one of the reason why the particular community appeared here.
It is dedicated to the generation of the "Polenovo circle" and, of course, to the history of the family. It is about people born and brought up before the Revolution, and in Soviet times had to choose between adopting a new order and getting used to the regime, or exile, emigration or arrest.
"37/101.Prologue" is the first exhibition in the series of events, that invites the visitor to browse the history of the estate in those years when Russia completely changed and Bolsheviks seized power for communism. The main character is Dmitry Polenov (1886-1967) the son of the artist and the first director of the museum. It encompasses the artistic and various documentary evidences of the family life and the museum-estate during the period 1918-1937.
It makes public for the first time documents such as: personal files of Dmitry and Anna Polenov; N. Bukharin's letter with a request for the fate of the artist and estate; the decision of the Konyushinsky rural society stipulating that Polenov could remain forever in the village of Byokhovo; and many others.
The exhibition is organised in four thematic sections: the pre-revolutionary childhood of D. Polenov and his sisters, the history of the manor in the years of the Revolution and the Civil War, the life of the family and the museum until 1937. Moving in time everyone can look at Polenovo through the eyes of the artist, his family members and peasants of the surrounding villages. The exhibition ends at the date when the artist's son and his wife were arrested.
On October 23, 1937, the Tula Department of the NKVD arrested the son of the artist, the first director of the museum-estate Dmitry Vasilievich Polenov and his wife Anna Pavlovna; both went through investigation and GULAG camps: Dmitry Polenov was sent to Krasnoyarsk, and Anna Polenova was in the Komi ASSR. In 1944, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary and official recognition of V.D. Polenov as People's Artist of the Soviet Russia, they were allowed to return to their home. Both were rehabilitated in 1956, moreover Dmitry Vasilievich was allowed to run the museum. He was the permanent director of Polenovo until the 1960s.
Specially for the exhibition, the French artist Stéphane TROIS CARRÉS and the Belgian composer and performer Jacques-Emmanuel ROUSSELON, as residents of the POLENOVO A-I-R Programme, developed an original multimedia presentation - a three-minute art work, where the images of the past and the present estate are creatively intertwined.
The exhibition also contains paintings and graphic works from the collection of the Polenov State Museum of Fine Arts and National Park.
About the project
The project 37/101 is a historical research, conducted by Gabriel Superfin, historian, archivist and participant of the human rights movement in the USSR. He aimed to decipher and represent the personal diaries from the Polenov’s family archive along with the documents from government and departmental archives and private collections.
The exhibition 37/ 101. Prologue is accompanied by the 24-pages catalogue. In addition to the essays of Yury Kublanovsky and Gabriel Superfin the catalogue features annotations of more then 50 objects and documents on view.
Partners of the project
The Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation in Tula region
State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF)
The Russian State Archive of Literature and Art (RGALI)
Association of Vassily Polenov
The project and exhibition are organised by
V. Polenov Museum of Fine Arts and National Park
Natalya Polenova, General Director
Natalia Gramolina, Deputy Director for Research
Gabriel Superfin, historian, archivist, member of the human rights movement in the USSR
Lev Polivanov, archivist-historian
Olga Gracheva, Researcher
Elena Kashtanova, Methodology
Elena Rymshina, historian, art critic
Stéphane TROIS CARRÉS, artist, France
Jacques-Emmanuel ROUSSELON, composer, Belgium
Nadezhda Baeva, Head of Exhibition Department
Elena Lazareva, Media and PR Department