Aleksandr Baturin From the interview in MOC
I could speak about two meetings with Vladimir Vasilyevich: the first from 1931 to 1934, and the second since 1956 and up to the end.
The first meeting as Vladimir Vasilyevich used to say, is never casual, all of God. Really, my father with elder sister visited our distant relatives, Velikanovs family, whose daughter has been studied with k. Malevich, at the same place, where Vladimir Vasilyevich had been, therefore they were familiar. And absolutely incidentally Vladimir Vasilyevich and the father with the sister appeared together at a table. They started to talk about art as two foreigners, without knowing each other language at all. Saying that art fell into decay father meant that there were no such artists as Repin, Ayvazovsky, Shishkin, kramskoy, etc., i.e. peredvizhniki, and Vladimir Vasilyevich said that art fell because the surrealism, i.e. a socialist realism was overwriting avant-garde. And suddenly Vladimir Vasilyevich said that he would like to have the pupil to transfer the Russian culture of fine arts to the young man not spoiled by any school. The sister pushed the father and whispered: "tell about Sasha". The father said that he had a son, drawing from six years, ... "Let him come. And it is gratuitous", - it was very important for us.
Just next day I go to Vladimir Vasilyevich on the krestovsky island. I represented that I will be met by professor in a blouse, in a hat, with a bow. I call. The young man tears off a door: blue big eyes such, aquiline nose, curly.
- To me Vladimir Vasilyevich. - It I. I have been surprised, of course. He will see off me through kitchen, a hall, in her on a door the circle, a cross and a square are drawn. And it is necessary to tell that before arrival to Leningrad we lived in exile in Shadrinsk, the small small town where I studied at school. The art teacher has paid attention to me, abilities were, of course, some, and he has the same son, as well as I, we went to etudes, drew together, and he has already graduated from the Leningrad academy. At that time they received the Russian Art magazine, there printed Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, Braque, etc. scoffed like mad at these artists that they aren't able to draw, show off.
The father at me drew too, he was a fan and worked in a realistic manner, I on it was brought up. When I have come to Vladimir Vasilyevich, and he has opened for me a door to the room, the first that I have seen - a small plate, on her the woman is represented, holds the head in hand, and behind her such floating lodges. I was horrified. And I have looked back (behind the back), there at a huge leaf of a Whatman paper, an integral leaf, and the vase absolutely fantastically is drawn, one stroke, not made by hand it is made work and with the red press of Academy of Arts. Then it has turned out that his aunt has graduated from Academy with a gold medal, I came to him and I asked that he has taught to draw her. Naturally, he refused to her because he -young. To him 27 years were, and me
I brought the whole folder of works, some were from nature, their Vladimir Vasilyevich at once noted. I asked some questions, I answered. He spoke, I not absolutely understood, but felt, something very serious.
"You come tomorrow, you bring a pencil, paper, we will try to draw". I come home, I tell everything that I saw ... The father on a table a fist: "That your leg wasn't more, God forbid there". In the morning it left for work, mother - on economy, I, of course, there. Vladimir Vasilyevich gave a still life: some vase with fruit, a stool costs, on a stool a can from under kerosene, a bottle, and on a plate two potatoes crude, and the rag hangs down.
"Fie, there and there is nothing to do!" - I think. He says: "You sit down and draw", - and I left. Silence in the house. I fast, time time, drew everything at once. I sit, I turn, I look around, it is inconvenient to me to shout that it is ready. At last, Vladimir Vasilyevich comes: "Well as?" - "Is ready". He looked. - "I sit down, Sasha, on your place, and you sit down nearby and you look". And it takes fat such pencil and in my opinion to the sickly, disgusting drawing, so-called, draws a fat line to the region of a can, "And here so, - shows, - in it the rag strikes". - "Precisely? Look. Correctly?" - it is "correct".
And on mine eyes from this of the nasty, sickly drawing, the volume, a form suddenly begins to appear, and it comes to life absolutely differently. I was stupefied, I look with the opened mouth. Everything is absolutely correct in sense of proportions, precisely everything, but everything is so made ...
We have begun occupations, of course, with Cezanne. So some time proceeded, and then I have led one more student, kartashov Oleg to it. Vladimir Vasilyevich has asked at first me on him: who parents as they live how many they earn when I have told everything, he has agreed: "Well, you bring".
I have brought. Here what he has told us then: "You thank the Lord that have got to me because I don't know what I am an artist, this time will tell, but that I am a teacher good, I know it".
Really, he the teacher was from God, it is possible to tell. His word was as the God's word, simply. Was one appointment to him enough, I knew artists who changed at once.
"Cezanne, the volume and a form - you watch at once, entirely", is his pedagogics. And he honestly and safely approximately in half a year has told: "I want to show to parents who you have made progresses". But at first he carried our works to Malevich though that was already ill, lay therefore he hasn't taken us. Malevich has approved: That's good. Then Vladimir Vasilyevich has allowed to show works of the house. The father who drew sees that works serious, but something like that not so and that not so - doesn't understand. Mother has been fascinated by him because he is a charming person, the grandmother, sisters, in general have been absolutely shocked. When Vladimir Vasilyevich has left, the father has begun to speak: "Something not that" . I have begun to argue with him. Then already Vladimir Vasilyevich said to me that never argue, prove only work.
You, probably, heard, there was such Vera Mikhaelovna Yermolaeva, the right hand of Malevich. She made a book illustration in due time, and the hero was in the modern suit and ... with whiskers. It showed to the very close people and kept an illustration in a chest. Someone probably "told", come to search, directly in a chest, get this thing, it is taken away also her schoolgirl, and next day Vladimir Vasilyevich. And I am rung by Lidiya Ivanovna, his wife, the dead: "Sasha, come, I should tell you something". And I drew just in the evening, I according to the job should have made something for the book. I sat down, hands shiver, I can't, it never rang. I went to it. Oleg shall come to me, told the grandmother, let will wait. I come, I am said by Lidiya Ivanovna that Vladimir Vasilyevich was taken, can take also you, keep in mind. I went home, Oleg of course, left, didn't know, what happened. Only I entered, the father enters and speaks: "Sasha, to you". There is a man with the gun: hands up. I raise hands, the search goes . Somehow it didn't make an impression on me. Took with things, and in prison, and there I saw Vladimir Vasilyevich. It was in the solitary confinement where permanently the same sound was also bright light. And it is necessary to tell that on Shpalerka the internal prison has no wall of one,
and entirely a grid so it is visible to the security guard all camera directly, but also from the camera it is visible all passing along the corridor on walk. And I is absolutely accidental . ah! Vladimir Vasilyevich goes. And he saw me, I clung to a grid. "Sasha, don't trust the protocol" and all. And the next days when it went there, and I went back, only two words "Sasha, Do Not Trust the Protocol". Here shout, of course: "Don't talk", etc. I think: "What protocols, I know nothing".
Call me on the investigation, show the signature: "You learn?", - "Yes, Vladimir Vasilyevich". "He said that he carried out with you counterrevolutionary propaganda, promotion, and you informed of nothing. How to regard it?" I speak: "Nothing similar, it ... if we also expressed what complaint - is never present pencils, there are no papers, here the only thing. I'm saying: all this lie".
He pressed the button - to take away me because to this Oleg caused and made to it a confrontation with Vladimir Vasilyevich, he told too that it is nonsense... Here shout, Oleg was moved away, Vladimir Vasilyevich too. To put it briefly, Vladimir Vasilyevich received 5 years, went to Karaganda, and we with Oleg were let out on receipt.
In 10 days we are for now we were imprisoned, our parents, Oleg and mine, sent to Ufa. The father was with mother divorced, mother was sent away to Ufa with daughters, and the father was in Saratov, well and me to Saratov assigned too, I speak: "I won't go, only to Ufa". Rewrote Ufa what to them a difference where I will go. And there I already earned the period, having offered one Leningrad maiden whom I looked after, to stage demonstration from Leningrad residents, and we with Oleg will write slogans. Romans wrote "Shows and bread", and we will write: "Operations and bread". Some professor was, he told about fascism, I also speak: "What is fascism? We will bring together Leningrad residents, and he to us let will read a lecture what is fascism". Well and in about 10 days she probably squealed, I am called. I understood directly from where. I speak: "Same a joke, it is so simple". Then in the camera spoke to me: "The fool, it was necessary to tell that she told it, and you didn't manage to inform". Ask: "As it you were going to do demonstration why you are interested in fascism, etc.". Generally, nothing was, but in a year approximately suggested to work as the informer. I refused ., and it was very difficult to get a job. Sisters settled: one - a groove to dig, another - in laboratory. The security officer asks: "Where sisters work?" Takes phone: "They will work for you now ." - "All right ." - "Write the receipt about nondisclosure and sign that you work in organs". I signed. Gives me phone and sends.
I come to Oleg. We get under the roof, on an attic, and I tell everything to it. He to me: "Sashka, what you have made? No way! You think, you them there ... They will put you all the same. It is useless. Refuse, directly tell that you can't".
I the 3rd of May come, phone is, I call. The security officer accepts me. I say that I have thought over everything, and I can't. He gets a revolver: "You it is necessary to shoot. There are your receipts, - and tears them. - Get out".
Very not for long, can in half a year, I am taken away. And eight years of camps. Then the reference "Minus 36", I had no right to live in 36 cities of the Union, and only in the 56th year I have returned to St. Petersburg and have again met Vladimir Vasilyevich.
About the second meeting . I wrote Vladimir Vasilyevich from the reference, and my wife wrote, any answer
and when has arrived to St. Petersburg, to Leningrad then still, was afraid to call him. When the wife has gone to Moscow, I have called. He says: "Sasha and! Oh, rather to me come!" I have given the address, he lived on Leo Tolstoy Street. I have gathered, with a wine bottle, cake as the idiot I am to him. He has seized me: "Sasha, it you!" He all shouted: "Tanya, Tanya, you look who has arrived! Sasha has arrived!"
Well have also begun, of course, occupations, at once. After all there have passed many years - 22 years. Of course, I have lost much, but something probably remained because he watched my etudes. And one etude, I left to pee to the park, at us was nearby, so this etude of 7 times rewrote. A rag I washed away, cotton wool, I washed away everything, I wrote anew. Then I have spat, he has bothered me, I left him. Next day Vladimir Vasilyevich comes, I show him those which I wrote before, and I speak: "Here still there is one, - and show, - I have thrown him". He has looked: "You, a ram, you won't write such masterpiece long yet". And it, really, the only thing which is in the Russian Museum. Small этюдик.
Vladimir Vasilyevich spoke: "The modern artist shall know much. know what is impressionism that Cezanne gave that gave a cubism, but not intellectually, and hands know what is a suprematism, and after already to do that it can that to it it is this". After suprematistsky direct Vladimir Vasilyevich delivered a curve, the Bowl and the Dome. On April 17 to it this vision of a curve which turned all vision in general as if condescended. Were engaged much. He already received the apartment in Peterhof. Went to Peterhof. Unfortunately, Oleg kartashov died at the front, it wasn't any more, but other artists came: Spitsyn Sergey, Aleksandrova Lyusya...
Vladimir Vasilyevich was deeply believing person, it was simply felt, but directly he never said, probably including that I shall come to it. And, really, already the last years I read the Gospel daily, I have no day that I didn't read the Gospel, Acts of Apostles, and then after it work. When I arrived in the 56th year, he was even more secular person, he still smoked then. We with it slowly smoked on the platform, and already in recent years, stopped everything.
Vladimir Vasilyevich always said to us that spiritual and moral work first of all. It still when I to it came for the first time, he spoke: Whether "You are ready to work to sweat of the person, gratuitously, only to hear reproaches. If you are ready to this work, then, please". I'm saying: "Is ready". Well, and went.
And still it always osteregat us from a sin. He directly said what is a sin: when you draw, and the subject, not a form, but a subject appears. He spoke: "One draw the nature with feeling, others replace it with abstraction. Those who combine abstraction together with feeling and when the natural form matches an internal plastic uniform of the artist are happy". And still I said about force that the main thing in art is force, but I meant spiritual power because it is created "by neither feelings, nor moods, nor conditions, nor abstraction, nor pointlessness -all this minor, - "the lower ranks". The main force - force Divine". It his words.
Any reminiscence of Vladimir Vasilyevich at me especially kind. It to me is the most native on light, closest. Its loss for me was awful experience because it, of course, and the confessor, certainly. So everything, than I live both in art, and in life, I am obliged only to it.
Aleksandr Baturin From the interview in MOC