oscar rabin


Oscar Rabin, former de-facto leader of the Soviet non-conformist artists, is undeniably one of the most gifted and prolific painters today. He was born in 1928 in Moscow. After the early death of his parents, Rabin studied painting in the studio of Yevgeny Kropivinitsky from 1942 - 45. He spent the next two years studying in Riga, Latvia and returned to Moscow to continue his studies at the Surikov Institute. In 1950, he married Valentina Kropivnitskaya, his teacher's daughter. They settled in the suburbs of Moscow, at Lianozovo, and participated in the exhibition organized during the Moscow Youth Festival of 1957. From 1958 to 1965, a group of young artists, which would later be called "the Lianozovo Group", gathered around Oscar Rabin. The non-conformists artists continued to organize exhibitions which were increasingly censored by the authorities, yet Rabin achieved recognition as the first unofficial artist to have his work shown abroad (London 1964) as part of an otherwise official show. Oscar Rabin was one of the principal organizers in the now famous "bulldozer exhibition" in 1974. In 1978, while in France on vacation, he was exiled from the USSR. In 1985, his adopted country granted him French citizenship. In 1990, the advent of perestroika restored his right to Russian citizenship and he received a new passport in 2006.

The artist continuously uses everyday objects that become symbols of other meanings and notions in his paintings. Just as the artist is a "symbol" of non-conformism, so his paintings are "symbols" of other realities. Living as a "Russian" artist in France, Rabin has worked with two distinct bodies of work that often unconsciously merge his memories of life in the USSR with the realities of living in France. His compositions continue to unite "reality and imagination" as uniquely Rabin.

selected personal exhibitions

Oscar Rabin
, Musée d'art et d'archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux, France

Oscar Rabin. Three Lives. Paintings. Graphics., The State Tretyakovskaya Gallery, Moscow

Oscar Rabin
, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

A&C-Projects, Peter Nahum At The Leicester Galleries, London

Mimi-Ferzt Gallery, New York

A&C Projects, Eric de Montbel Gallery, Paris

Mimi-Ferzt Gallery, New York

Esch Theatre Gallery, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg

Cultural Club of European Institutes, Luxembourg

State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

Le Monde de l'Art Gallery, Paris

Museum of Literature, Moscow

Marie-Thérèse Cochin Gallery, Paris

Eduard Nakhamkin Gallery, New York

Miro-Spizman, London

Holts-Halversens Gallery, Oslo

Museum of Modern Russian Art, New Jersey

Marie-Thérèse Cochin Gallery, Paris

Steink Gallery, Vienna

Holts Halversens Gallery, Oslo

Chantepierre Gallery, Aubonne, Switzerland

Jacquester, Paris

Grosvenor Gallery, London

selected group exhibitions

Squaring the Circle, Aktis Gallery, London (with Dmitri Krasnopevtsev, Oleg Tselkov, Vladimir Yankilevsky)

Born in the USSR - Made in France, Espace Blancs Manteaux, Paris


Étude to Art Object, Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), Moscow

Oscar Rabin, Valentina Kropivnitskaya, Alexander Rabin, State Pushkin Museum, Moscow

Collages Russes, Galerie Blue Square, Paris

Russia!, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain; Bilbao, New York

The Kropivnitskys, Potapova, the Rabins, Museum of Fine Arts Tyumen, Russia

Russia!, Guggenheim Museum, New York

Moscow Biennale of Modern Art 

Non-Konformisten aus Moskau, Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, Germany

Berlin-Moskau / Moskau-Berlin 1950-2000, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin

Russian Non-Conformists Artists, Centro de Cultura, Castillo de Maya, Spain

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Lianozovo Group, State Tratyakov Gallery, Moscow

Eugene Noutovitch Collection, State Pushkin Museum, Moscow

Non-Conformists. Second Russian Avant-Garde, 1955-1988, Bar-Gera Collection, State Russian Museum, St Petersburg

Facing History1933-1996, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Musée Maillol, Dina Vierny Foundation, Paris

From Gulag to Glasnost, Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers University, Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union, New Jersey

Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany

From Malevich to Kabakov, Die Sammlung, Cologne, Germany

Central House of Artists, Moscow

Another Art: 1956-1976, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Nakhamkin Gallery, New York

Lianozovo Group, Museum of Contemporary Russian Art, Montgeron, France

Luxembourg Museum, Paris

New Soviet Art, Turin Biennale, Italy

Unofficial Soviet Art, Municipal Museum of Tokyo, Japan

New Soviet Art, Venice Biennale, Italy

Katia Granoff Gallery, Paris

Unofficial Russian Art, Institute of Modern Art, London

International Art Salon, Toulon, France

Russians in Exile, Museum of Contemporary Russian Art, Montgeron, France

Contemporary Russian Painting, Palace of Congress, Paris

New Realities Salon, Paris

Eight Moscow Artists, Grenoble Museum, France

Four Hours of Liberty , Izmailovo Park, Moscow

Open-Air Cheryomushki "Bulldozer" Exhibition, Moscow

Progressive Tendencies in Moscow, Bochum Museum, Germany

Russian Avant-Garde, Dina Vierny Gallery, Paris

Koobenhavns Kommunes Kulturfond, Copenhagen, Denmark

New Tendencies in Moscow, Museum of Fine Arts, Lugano, Switzerland

New Moscow School, Interior Gallery, Frankfurt, Germany

Institute of World Economics and International Relations, Moscow

Pananti Gallery, Florence

Il Segno Gallery, Rome 

Sixteen Moscow Artists, Sopot-Poznan, Poland

Fielding collection of the Russian Art, Arleigh Gallery, San Francisco

Aspects of Contemporary Soviet Art, Grosvenor Gallery, London

World Festival of Youth and Students, Moscow

selected museum collections

Museum of Contemporary Russian Art in Exile, NJ, USA

Museum of Modern Art, New York

Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers University, Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union, New Jersey

Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany

Musée Maillol, Dina Vierny Foundation, Paris

"Another Art" Museum, Moscow

State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, Italy

Museum of Fine Arts, Tumen, Russia

Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow


"Ses œuvres au subtil camaïeu de gris, aux blancs lumineux, aux ocres ou aux rouges incandescents, véritables lueurs d'incendie surgissant de derrière l'horizon sont l'exact reflet de l'âme d'un artiste intègre qui n'a trouvé dans les affres du déracinement d'autre raison d'être que la peinture, la passion de la peinture à laquelle il s'adonne sans se soucier des courants et des modes. Discret, modeste mais parfaitement conscient de la place qu'il occupe d'ores et déjà dans l'histoire de la peinture russe contemporaine, Oscar Rabin continue dans la voie qu'il s'est tracée, avec rigueur et vigueur, pour son plaisir aussi et celui des collectionneurs avertis (...) ".

René Guerra, Paris, janvier 2001 in Oscar Rabine, Galerie Eric de Montbel, mars 2001, Paris


"Rabin's hand, eminently personal, is not borrowed from any one style, or any one school, but tightly unites reality and imagination. Dense matte ris presented with nervous touches, a very finely modulated palette; the earth colors, the blues, the muted reds, which highlight the tranparencies, and a light coming from the horizon, give a quasi-mystical dimension to these paintingsin which resonate the profundities of the human condition."

Nicole Lamothe, Amateur d'Art, May 1984, quoted in: Oscar Rabin, Retrospective Exhibition 1957-1984, C.A.S.E Museum of Russian Contemporary Art in Exile, 1984.

Tablet, "Bulldozing Soviet Art," October 15, 2012

Artforum, "Oscar Rabin 1928 - 2018," November 9, 2018

Oscar Rabin : Landscape With Samovar	 2005	 Mixed media collage on paper	 28x32 cm
Oscar Rabin : Huile De Tournesol	 1992	 Mixed media collage on paper	 41.5x55 cm
Oscar Rabin : Landscape and Still Life near Pere Lachaise	 2007	 Mixed media on canvas	 100x81 cm
Oscar Rabin : Daisies  1997	 mixed media on paper   30x42 cm
Oscar Rabin : Visa  1997	 mixed media on paper   37.5x55
Oscar Rabin : Rabin in his studio	 2007

click to enlarge