Archive for July, 2020

Vladimir Zimmerling: Avant-garde sculptures from 1960-1961

July 16, 2020

The first article about the sculptor Vladimir Zimmerling is dated with 1966 and published in English. This article by Andrej Batashev was published in the American magazine “Soviet life” in the December issue (“Soviet life”, 1961, № 12, p. 30-31). This magazine is a monthly review of Soviet/Russian culture and is oriented towards a Western reader: the current name of this magazine is “Russian life“,  since the USSR does not exist any more. However, Soviet art or, to put it in a more correct way, art of the Soviet period still exists and is a matter of cultural interest. The journalist justly emphasized the fact that Vladimir Zimmerling’s teacher, Latvian sculptor Theodor Zalkaln was a sculptor with big European name and a pupil of August Rodin and Emile Bourdelle. Vladimir Zimmerling was Zalkaln’s pupil from 1950 to 1957, in the city of Riga. His own plastic idiom assumed in his monumental works and chamber portraits from the 1960-s makes it possible to identify him as a sculptor of the Soviet avant-garde –  a characteristics quite unusual for a Moscow sculptor in that period: this is mentioned in Myuda Jablonskaja’s review of Vladimir Zimmerling’s first personal exhibition (1985).

In 1966, Batashev who visited the sculptor in his atelier, was particularly impressed by two portraits from 1962 and one from 1961.  He could still see other remarkable works from 1960 and 1961 both in the atelier and in the exhibition halls.

The wooden figure of the violinist David Oistrakh comes from 1960 when Vladimir Zimmerling was 29 years old, but early variants come already from  his Riga years (not later than 1957, the year when the sculptor returned back to Moscow). The completed 1960 version was shown at the notable All-Russian exhibition “Soviet Russia” (Moscow,  1960).


Vladimir Zimmerling. “DAVID OISTRAKH”, wood, 1960.

[For more pictures of this sculture see this link ].

Vladimir Zimmerling was particularly attracted by portraying creative personalities and capturing their unique features by plastic means. In 1961, he made three important portraits – of an author (Halldor Laxness), a playwright (Bertolt Brecht) and a film director (Sergei Eisenstein).


Vladimir Zimmerling. “HALLDÓR LAXNESS”. Concrete, 1961.

[For more pictures of this sculpture see this link].



Vladimir Zimmerling. “BERTOLT BRECHT”, tinted plaster with concrete, 1961.

[For more pictures of this sculpture see this link].


Vladimir Zimmerling. “SERGEI EISENSTEIN”, concrete, 1961. 

[For more pictures of this sculpture see this link].