Coal Miners of the Donbass, signed, inscribed in Cyrillic "Donbass" and dated 1932.
Tempera on paper, 88 by 63 cm
No account of the development of Leningrad painting in the 1920s and 1930s would be complete without the work of Viacheslav Pakulin. He was part of Krug (Circle), alongside such renowned masters as Alexei Pakhomov, Alexander Samokhvalov and Alexander Rusakov. The individuality of each artist’s work contributed to the overall high quality of this movement based in the Northern Capital which was, in the opinion of many, superior to that of the Moscow school. Pakulin’s work expresses vividly, but without embellishment, the country’s “viscera”, its harsh daily grind, and so truthfully that one might wonder at the lack of interest shown in Pakulin by the notorious party apparatus. He was most probably saved by the spontaneity of his portrayals and the exaggerated enthusiasm he affected.
Pakulin’s series of tempera works Coal Miners of the Donbass was produced in the beginning of the 1930s, at the time of his painting trips to Ukraine. We are captivated by his boldly emblematic figures and his absolutely free brushwork which, on the merest contact with the surface of the paper, so tellingly captures the essence of his subject.