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Oscar Rabine


(Moscow, 1928 – Florence, 2018)

Born in Moscow, Oscar Rabin learnt to paint under Evgueni Kropivnitski. In the 1950s, he moved with his wife to the suburbs of Moscow and earned a living subsequently as a railway supervisor, worker and advertising designer. He decided to fully commit to painting in 1958 following the birth of the Lianosovo Group.

As a true leading figure of the  artists committed to the freedom of expression, Oscar Rabin belongs to the great non-conformist movement of the 60s and 70s. As a defender of non-official art, in 1974, he organized the well-known open air exhibition “bulldozer” in Moscow. This attempt to present art without any censorship was swept away by the authorities. The works exhibited  were seized and Oscar Rabin was later stripped of his nationality in 1978.

Expelled, Oscar Rabin moved to Paris with his family. He there became a free artist, independent of any political movement, and came to acquire an international reputation.

The Russian Ambassador to France eventually returned his passport in 2006. A year later, he was granted the Innovation prize at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. Thereafter, Oscar Rabin was appointed to the Order of the Academy of Fine Art of Russia.

Rabin’s art is a powerful testimonial to his own life, divided between Russia and France. His paintings bear the imprint of his passion in the generous use of materials in his landscapes, still lifes, portraits and other themes. He was greatly inspired by his everyday life, taking objects to transform them into symbols so as to offer a reflection on the meaning of life. Through the use of drawing, oils, collages and cutouts, his paintings are located between realism and expressionism. Using black outlines and subtle monochrome tints in his unstable compositions, he depicts heterogeneous objects such as his passport, bottles of vodka, bottles of champagne, cigarette ends and herrings, among other things.

In my painting, I feel pleasure in the process itself, by mixing and applying colors and by enjoying their brightness and darkness, their broad, subtle brushstrokes as well as their smell. Then I wish to express sadness, happiness, hate, anger, love and all the thoughts of life. I want to capture the meaning of life and express it using my own feeloings. To achieve this, for symbols, I use ordinary objects around me. Their meaning in painting is different from their meaning in real life.”. Oscar Rabin

Visa ordinaire, 1997
Technique mixte sur papier
37,5 x 54,9 cm


Copyright Galerie Dina Vierny 2017