A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art

By Ian Chilvers | Go to book overview
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Rabin, Oskar (1928- ). Russian painter, one of the leading figures of *Unofficial art in the Soviet Union. He was born in Moscow and trained at the Riga Academy, 1944-7. For many years he worked as a railway porter and engine driver in Moscow, painting in his spare time, but from 1967 he was a full-time artist. His subjects were often taken from the railway and also included fantastic cityscapes juxtaposed with incongruous objects such as a samovar, a torn vodka label, or even a Titian nude. Characteristically he painted in thick impasto, mainly with a palette knife and generally in subdued ochre and umber tones. Although his work did not conform to the ideals of the officially approved *Socialist Realism, he was allowed to exhibit abroad, and he was the only Unofficial artist included in the exhibition of contemporary Soviet art held at the Grosvenor Gallery, London, in 1964. In a review of this exhibition, the art critic of Time magazine wrote: 'The only Russian painter who might be at home in any Western city's art museum is Oskar Rabin, an outcast.' In the following year he had a oneman exhibition at the same gallery and the Daily Telegraph's art critic, Terence Mullaly, described him as a 'major talent'. However, Alan Bird ( A History of Russian Painting, 1987) writes that although ' Rabin's paintings have a modest gentleness and sentimental charm . . . his work does not differ noticeably from the run of pictures to be seen in exhibitions sponsored by the [Soviet] Union of Artists'. Rabin left Russia in 1978 and settled in Paris. His wife Valentina ( 1924- ) is a painter, as was her brother, Lev Kropivnitsky ( 1922-79), who spent nine years in labour camps.

Rabuzin, Ivan (1921- ). Yugoslav. *naive painter, born in the village of Ključ, near Novi Marof, in the Zagorje region of Croatia. He trained as a cabinet-maker in Zagreb, where he also attended evening classes in drawing. In 1950 he became foreman of a furniture factory in Novi Marofand in 1956 he held his first one-man exhibition in this village. He won first prize at the Federal Exhibition of Yugoslav Amateur Painters at Zagreb in 1958, and had his second one-man exhibition, at the Gallery of Naive Art in Zagreb, in 1960. In the same year a film about his work appeared on Yugoslavian television. His growing success enabled him to give up his job at the furniture factory in 1963 and devote himself full-time to painting. In 1969 he was awarded the Henri Rousseau prize in Bratislava, and his work has been seen in many exhibitions in his own country and abroad. Rabuzin's most typical subjects are landscapes, painted in a bright and optimistic manner. Usually there are no figures, but there are often signs of human activity-neatly ploughed fields and so on. Everything is in perfect order, in a radiant vision: 'In my picture I beautify nature. In other words, in nature I create an order that suits me, I create a world that pleases me and appears the way I want it to.'

Rackham, Arthur (1867-1939). British illustrator, celebrated for his work in children's books. He was born in London, into a comfortable middle-class family. From 1885 to 1892 he worked as a clerk in an insurance office whilst attending evening classes at Lambeth School of Art, where his fellow students included Charles *Ricketts and Charles *Shannon. In 1892 he started working as a pictorial journalist for the Westminster Budget and he began illustrating books the following year. The book that established hisreputation was Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, published in 1900, and from then until the First World War he had his golden period, when Edmund *Dulac was his only serious rival as an illustrator of children's books. They were very different in


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