20th Century Art: A Different Perspective

20th Century Art: A Different Perspective

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 37. Here Stopped Time.

Property from an American Private Collection

Ivan Marchuk

Here Stopped Time

Lot Closed

November 9, 01:36 PM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 EUR

Lot Details


Property from an American Private Collection

Ivan Marchuk


b. 1936

Here Stopped Time

signed and dated MARCHUK 82 lower right

tempera on canvas

Unframed: 58 by 69.9 cm., 22⅞ by 27½in.

Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner (by 1988)

Ivan Marchuk, Album Catalogue, Kyiv, 2004, p. 107, catalogued and illustrated (erroneously catalogued as executed in 1976)

Ivan Marchuk, Album, Kyiv, 2008, n.p., illustrated and catalogued

Painted in 1982, the present work is part of a series of golden moonlit scenes for which the artist is best known.

Ivan Marchuk is one of Ukraine's most famous contemporary artists. A non-conformist, he openly opposed social realism, the official art style of the Soviet Union forced onto artists by the government. This led to Marchuk being harassed by the KGB. Everything that didn’t fall under social realism was considered ideologically harmful by the Soviet regime— meaning anything figurative and abstract, complex and moody, any search for a free form. Since Marchuk’s work challenged the conventions of social realism, the Soviet government sought to suppress his work and even directed the KGB to directly persecute and threaten him. This treatment lasted for years, reaching its peak in the 1970s, and caused Marchuk’s art to be under an unofficial ban for over 17 years. Marchuk eventually managed to emigrate to the US in the 1980s, and only returned to Ukraine after 9/11.

As evident in the present work, Marchuk's palette borders on the monochromatic, and the unreality of the imagery is thereby reinforced. His realistic landscapes have a peculiar, dense texture consisting of weblike layers of pigment that, combined with the dramatic use of light and dark, create an atmosphere of mystery. Indeed the artist developed his own unique technique called pliontanism. It consists of thin intertwined lines that merge into incredibly detailed, outlined images, which give his paintings a ‘hyper-detailed to the point of being tactile’ quality. Often, there is an illusion of an additional light source, especially in his nightscapes that focus on the moon.

Despite emigrating Marchuk considered himself tied to Ukrainian soil. According to him, this love of the land is the reason for the hyper-realism he employs in every depicted clump of soil, in the precise anatomy of a tree or in any other element of a landscape. It was this special perception of his native land and tangible memory of the earth where he was born that eventually convinced Marchuk to return to Ukraine.