The Genius of Nicolai Fechin
Only once in several generations does an artist come along whose work so charms and titillates the human emotions as that of Nicolai Fechin. He was born in 1881, in the little Tartar village of Kasan, Russia, on the Volga, and grew up in the most difficult of times. A cholera epidemic took his parents, and the peasants rose against an oppressive Czarist government, yet through it all the young artist’s genius emerged under the school direction of the great Ilia Repin.
In 1923, Fechin, with his wife and daughter, immigrated to New York, where he became an “overnight celebrity.” The next year he started winning art awards, including the coveted Proctor Prize at the National Academy of Design.
But Fechin was restless, and his health was not good, which prompted him to move first to the drier climate of Taos, New Mexico, and then to California after an unfortunate divorce. For the next two decades he painted mostly pueblo Indians, Mexican peasants, and Spanish descendants of the sixteenth-century explorers who brought a new religion to America. He had found his niche.
But this book is more about Fechin the human than about his genius at the easel. It explores the depth of his personality, his loves, his successes, and, of course, his failings. It also provides a showcase for the photographs he made in Mexico in 1936 that so graphically portray the innocence and character of the village people who lived in a time when life was simple but hard. You will see that in their eyes.
These pages are full of words written in conversational language by a man who knew the intimacies of Nicolai Fechin, as told by his wife and friends. It is both a love story and a tragedy. You will see!
147 pages with 33 color plates and 68 of Fechin’s black and white photographs from travels in Mexico. Hardcover
Printed in the USA.