Gabriel Glikman

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Gabriel Glikman
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Born14th of July, 1913
Beshankovichy, Vitebsk, Soviet Union
Died4th of January, 2003
Munich, Germany
OccupationPainter, Sculptor

Gabriel Glikman (1913 – 2003) was born on July 14th 1913 in the town of Beshenkovichi, in the Soviet Union.

As a painter and sculptor, he dedicated his live to the performing arts, and lived in Munich for a quarter of a century until his death on January 4th 2003.


1913 Glikman Gabriel was born in Vitebsk, where he also spent his childhood.

1929 the family moved to Leningrad, now St. Petersburg.

1930's Gabriel Glikman attended a private school where is taught by Professor Leopold Diehiel.

1937-1947 interrupted by the war, he studied at the famous Leningrad Academy of Art sculpture, painting and graphics. In the following time he makes a name for himself as a sculptor.

1968 exhibition of the paintings in Leningrad, which however closed after three days by order of the Soviet government.

1980 emigration to the West. After many years of waiting the Glikman family will finally allow the path to the West.

1982-2003 the artist lived in Munich, where he maintained a studio in the Arabella Park. He died in 2003 in Munich.

About his life

Since he was a child he entered the Vitebsk Art Lyceum where he had the opportunity to watch Chagall, Malevich and other well-known artists at work. Glikman probably also adopted their typical artistic freedom and untamed imagination.

Even as a young man, he clearly defined the basic idea of his art - the beauty and depth of the human to recognize the soul and to convey it to people.

In 1922 the Glikman family moved to Leningrad - the city where the artist spent half a century. There, Gabriel Glikman graduates from the art academy and quickly becomes one of the leading sculptors in the city.

His work includes sculptures by Mozart, Beethoven, Schönberg, Bach, Radischev, D. Shostakovich, E. Mravinsky, M. Rostropovich, V. Mejerhold, Mikhoels and many others. His sculptures adorn museums, concert halls, streets and squares of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tsarskoe Selo, Saransk, Saratov...

"Pushkin in the Lyceum" - a marble work by Glikman - was exhibited in the Hermitage and is one of the best illustrations of the great Russian poet.

All these years, during his time as a sculptor, Glikman also secretly engaged in painting. Why secretly? From the start, Glikman's pictures contradict Soviet ideologues, and not just in terms of subject matter, even the form is not compatible with the statutes of socialist realism.

The wonderful series of portraits "Nevskij Prospekt" is created in a special style unique to the artist, as well as Portraits of artists and writers: Essenin, Klyuev, Blok, Diagilev, Sollertinsky, Filonov, Kuzmin, Andrei Belij.

Dimitri Shostakovich, who was good friends with Glikman in those years, once told him, half jokingly:

"Gabriel Davidovich, you should hide your work in a bunker until the time is right..."

But Glikman doesn't listen to that advice. In 1968 he exhibited his paintings in the St. Petersburg Union of Composers. Immediately a loud scandal breaks out. The exhibition will be closed by the government. His artistic work and his personal fate are in danger - during this time he is recommended several times to leave the country. And in 1980, Glikman makes a decision – in favor of artistic freedom. The artist later recalled that leaving Soviet Russia was a tragic, one-way journey, but

"...I left there broken, attracted by a phantom of freedom, a freedom both spiritual and physical, which seemed to everyone in the USSR like an unreal substance that lived only secretly in souls...".

Glikman is still relatively unknown in the West, but is quickly gaining widespread recognition. After just one year a very successful exhibition of his works takes place in the well-known Korkoran Gallery in Washington. Under them numerous portraits – by Dostoyevsky, Solzhenitsyn, Tsvetaeva, Akhmatova, Rostropovich and of course by D. Shostakovich, whom the artist knew for forty years and from whom he created many paintings and sculptures. This exhibition leaves a deep mark on the souls of visitors. The Washington Post writes in one of the articles about this exhibition: "It was a renaissance of the epoch of greatness that no longer exists". At that time, the Parisian magazine "Kontinent" published the article "Reflections with the brush in your hand" by T. Dmitriev. Under the impression of the Washington exhibition, he writes:

"It was indeed fascinating to look at these paintings as one studies a precious manuscript, and to recognize again and again, that they are not simply portraits with a penetrating inner world and an outer likeness, but modern poems about time, about the country seen through the eyes of a great artist".

Critics who analyze Glikman's work often state that his works contain all the important art directions of the XX. century.

"It also gave rise to his unique style - always outstanding each time it is seemingly new, but always typical - we always recognize a Glikman. One strange, sometimes naive, but always complete delight in drawing, an artistic lightness next to a dissonance of colored spots... Daring and surprising compositions, a clear tuning and plentylaterality of the rhythms, a decorative impetuosity next to the finest nuances.”

Through the power of his talent and the superiority of his vision, Glikman hypnotizes the viewer; the Darge forces him to see people and the whole world through the eyes of the Creator.

List of museums with his works

Saint Petersburg Moscow Saratow Rio de Janeiro London Berlin Washington
Russian Museum Literary Museum in Moscow The Saratov State Art Museum Theater Museum Tate Gallery Mauermuseum - Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie Gallery Museum Corcoran
Dostoevsky Museum Dostojewskji Museum
National Pushkin Museum


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