Alexandre Zinoview, un peintre russe sur le front français
Directed by Cécile Pichon-Bonin and Alexandre Sumpf
A few months ago we discovered the surprising war drawings by Ossip Zadkine, presented in his museum. Here is another interpretation of the same Champagne front between 1914 and 1917, by a Russian compatriot. Zinoview, his espionage name for the Okhrana, the Czar’s police, worked in ambulances, lived in trenches, went through the mutinies of 1917, and left behind a true report on the numerous Russian troops. He used drawings, photographs, gouaches on paper, pigments and even wax on wood as materials were rare, to depict a heartbreaking and mortal reality, very different to the sparkling Belle Epoque he knew in Paris. He shows the injured, the dead and the mutilated, vigils and bombings, nightmares and fantasies. Once he returned to his life as a civilian, Zinoview toured the US with the Foreign Legion, and then changed life styles. He befriended Rivera and Picasso, took part in art salons, worked for music-halls where he designed costumes for Mistinguett, and died at the age of 89 in 1977, having survived more than half a century after the horrors of a war he never forgot.
Review published in the newsletter #475 - from 1 June 2017 to 7 June 2017