Invitation for a journey or Yambol of the artists

Stefan Bachvarov: Tundzha River

A Sofia citizen can rarely have the opportunity to enjoy the works of the large number of talents who were born and worked in the rest of the Bulgarian districts. In this particular case we are talking about the Yambol District and its artists’ society. The National Art Gallery plays host till the end of September a curious exhibition of 51 paintings from the archives of the George Papazov Art Gallery in the town of Yambol.

Slava Ivanova and director of Yambol Art Gallery Petko Yordanov“We often work with our colleagues from across the country, of course,” said Head of the National Gallery Slava Ivanova at the unveiling ceremony. “We organize joint exhibitions on one occasion or another, no matter if those are thematic collections or representing a single author. We often gather different works from across the country, in order to display them in these exhibitions. However, we hadn’t done that type of exposition recently. I think that it will be good if we manage to turn that into a tradition, as it is essential that not only the Sofia audience has the chance to see those works. All art fans should be invited to travel across the country again and again, in order to see what magnificent things are stored in the collections of the art galleries countrywide…” 

At least two of the Yambol artists – George /Georgi/ Papazov /1894 – 1972/ and Georgi Popov – John /1906 – 1960/ have gained international recognition. Many of the others were well-known in Bulgaria only. There are few who are relatively unknown, but their works are worth seeing due to their beauty and originality of thought.

George Papazov used to work in France from 1924 till the end of his life. He was one of the pioneers of surrealism. He co-participated in exhibitions alongside stars like Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and Max Ernst. The Yambol Gallery presents in Sofia several of his early works, painted in Prague around 1916 /Papazov studied park engineering and architecture there/. These pictures are still far away from surrealism, but are fresh and reveal inspiration. Prague was the place where the Bulgarian artist discovered his true love for painting and this love would show him the path to success.

Georgi Popov – John also worked in France and Sweden over certain periods of his life. He won two awards in Paris in 1932. However, he would always return to Bulgaria, although he had to live through disappointments here as well. His 1946 portrait of famous sculptor Vaska Emanuilova is warm, delicate and deep in terms of psychology.

Stefan Bachvarov /1907 – 1988/ is one of the forefathers of the Yambol art school. He is presented through some of his landscapes from the Tundzha riverbank which brought the ‘Tunzdha impressionism’ trademark to his work. Stefan Bachvarov himself is brought to life via a great portrait, drawn by another Yambol artist – Pavel Bakalov.

Several other names from the exhibition: contemporary artist Ivan Dimov /b. 1943/ is presented with his Dusty Landscape – a modern work in between reality and phantasm, rich in fantasy and symbolism. Panayot Panayotov /1909 – 1986/ is a more traditional artist, who used to be a nationally recognized pedagogue. He was the rector of the National Academy of Art in the period 1953 – 1962. His Cloud painting is a magnificent pastoral in the best Bulgarian traditions. A Lady’s Portrait or Portrait in Yellow /1937/ by Parush Gogov skillfully combines a clear line with bright colors alongside delicately prompted psychological details.

The George Papazov Gallery also presents brilliant works of other Bulgarian famous artists like Vladimir Dimitrov – The Master and Boris Denev.

English version: Zhivko Stanchev

Photos: Veneta Pavlova and National Art Gallery
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