Dark Vision

For the enigmatic Russian artist Pavel Filonov, recognition has been painfully slow in coming. In the 1930s, the Soviet state made him a nonperson for being "hostile to socialism." Marginalized, his work banned, he died in December 1941, at the age of 58, along with more than 800,000 other victims who starved during the Nazi siege of Leningrad; his faded artistic prominence was enough to secure him no more than a grave of his own. His works resurfaced only under Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika reform when in 1988 the State Russian Museum in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) mounted an exhibition of Filonov's...

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