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SERGEI CHEPIK

RETROSPECTIVE 2014

FRONT COVER: SELF PORTRAIT WITH PETRUSHKA 1989 36 x 30cm (14 x 12")

All works are oil or mixed media on canvas unless specified

Marie-Aude Albert-Chepik and Catto Gallery


present a major retrospective of paintings by

SERGEI CHEPIK
(1953-2011)
The Mall Galleries
The Mall SW1
January-February 2014

Photographer Jean-Francois Guillon

SERGEI CHEPIK (19532011)


www.chepik.com
For 20 years, Sergei Chepika Russian artist who obtained French citizenship in 1993was hailed by the Anglo-Saxon
press as a searing visionary and one of the greatest living Russian painters. Represented in important British, Russian,
French, Japanese and American collections, this unclassifiable artist painted the portraits of Rudolf Nureyev and Margaret
Thatcher, and created a set of four monumental canvases for Londons Saint Pauls Cathedral entitled The Way, The Truth,
The Life, inaugurated in January 2005. He worked in Paris and exhibited in London from 1988 until his premature death on
November 18, 2011.
Born in Kiev in 1953 to an artist-painter father and sculptress mother, Chepik took up painting at the age of five. Admitted to
Leningrads Ilya Repin Institute (the prestigious St Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts before the Revolution), he graduated with
flying colours in 1978 and immediately embarked upon his early works, travelling across the Russian heartland and perfecting
his art in the class of Academy member Andrei Mylnikov, himself a pupil of Igor Grabar, one of the theoreticians of the World
of Art Movement led by Sergei Diaghilev and Alexandre Benois. From his long years of training with such open-minded,
demanding masters, Chepik always maintained an obsession for professionalism, a taste for excellence and a respect for the
artistic heritage of centuries past.
The House of the Dead (1979-1987), his masterpiece, which was banned from being shown in the Soviet Union, not only
prompted his voluntary exile to France in 1988, but also won the Grand Prix at the Salon dAutomne the same year. The
following year, his work The Tree (1982-1984) was awarded the Monaco City Award. In 1990, Chepiks first retrospective in
London at the Roy Miles Gallery, which consisted of over a hundred works, was an unprecedented success.The Daily Telegraph
ran the headline An unknown Russian genius comes to light and Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister at the time, invited him

to the Houses of Parliament. From then on, Chepik exhibited each year in London, first at the Roy Miles Gallery in Mayfair, and
then from 1997 at the Catto gallery in Hampstead. He presented a retrospective in Paris at the Espace Pierre Cardin in 2004
and in Milan where the French Cultural Centre held a large show of religious paintings, a version of which was mounted once
more at the church in Auvers-sur-Oise as part of the 2010 Franco-Russia Year.
An exceptionally gifted drawer, well-versed in all techniques from watercolour and etchings to oils, ceramic and sculpture, he
also mastered all genres, from portraiture in which he excelled to composition which he favoured above all others. He loved
to pit himself against the great masters he admired rather than giving in to the easy temptation of tabula rasa, to go against the
tide of official art in the Soviet Union and, after moving to Paris, of so-called contemporary, relativistic and nihilistic art in the
West. All his life, Chepik was a free spirit who resisted dogmas and fashions, remained faithful to his artistic creed, and chose to
paint both here and there in season and out of season.
His themes may have been extremely diverse, but they formed a distinctive and immediately recognisable world.There are the
vast historiosophic compositions on Russia in which Chepik never ceased from one painting to the next to ponder over the
tragic destiny of his homeland. There are above all the monumental religious paintings, which held a special place for the
Orthodox Christian artist that he was. There are also the teeming, phantasmagorical compositions in which his imagination
bursts forth unbridled. But there are also themes that had their origins in his daily life in Montmartre and the numerous trips
he made in France and EuropeParis and the chimeras of Notre-Dame;Venice and its carnival; Arles and its bullfights, which
he enthusiastically attended from 1994 onwards; sunflowers in homage to Van Gogh; and finally the world of the performing
arts that fascinated him all his lifecircuses and acrobats, boxing rings, cabarets and the wings of the Moulin Rouge.
It is this extraordinary world, which is both so personal and so universal, that this first posthumous retrospective enables visitors
to discover or rediscover. It is organised by the Catto Gallery in the vast halls of the Mall Galleries so close to the National
Gallery, where the artist never failed to go each time he was in London. For, lets note once more that he deliberately followed
in the grand tradition of Western art while at the same time making his own contribution, which he knew, without either
misplaced vanity nor false modesty, to be original and important.
Naturally, certain major works are missing The House of the Dead (1979-87), the Portrait of Baroness Margaret Thatcher
(1993) and of course, his masterpiece The Way, The Truth, The Life (2002-04), whose tragic removal from the walls of Saint
Pauls Cathedral in 2008 broke the heart and spirit of the artist. But, thanks to the generosity of his collectors and English,
French and Russian friends, the bulk of his output is there, reuniting all the themes so characteristic of Chepik.
How far he came, visitors will say to themselves, from his first childhood drawings executed in Kiev to the final compositions
of 2011 like Quo Vadis Domine in which the announcement of his death can be clearly read. For Chepik knew his end was
nigh when, physically and morally exhausted, he inaugurated his final exhibition at the Catto Gallery on November 9, 2011 (a
show that presented an overview of his work and acted as a legacy). This is demonstrated by the new monograph, Ultima
Opera, the artists last works (20082011) presented to the public on the occasion of this retrospective.
Chepik was a deeply Christian artist. Just like the good servant of the Gospels, he knew how to exploit the exceptional talents
he received at birth to the best of his ability and also knew that after his death (which was both premature and in keeping with
a destiny he foresaw from an early age) he would leave behind a body of work that was unquestionably finished, successfully
completed and brought to a close.
Manuscripts dont burn, Chepik liked to say, quoting Mikhail Bulgakov, his favourite writer and model, almost his double, who
all his life with courage, willpower and passion had forged an immense body of work that is both deeply personal and universal,
in season and out of season with the predominant ideology. Chepik was luckier than his illustrious model, for he was able to
exhibit his work during his lifetime, whereas Bulgakovs masterpieces on the whole remained secret, locked away in his nonconformist, persecuted writers table.
Manuscripts dont burn and neither do paintings! The Sergei Chepik Charity Trust, created on the occasion of this
retrospective, has the sole objective of championing the artists memory and serving his magnificent, inspired work through the
organisation of other exhibitions and the publication of works dedicated to Chepiks art and extremely charismatic personality.
Like many of his Russian compatriots, Chepik was sensitive to certain signs. The order of the prefect making this endowment
fund official is dated August 1, 2013a quarter of a century to the day after Chepik chose freedom, just like his compatriot
Nureyev before him, by settling in Paris on August 1, 1988. After a first life in Russia, a second between London and Paris, lets
make a vow that Chepik will henceforth enjoy a third life that will, through this foundation, carry his powerful, generous art to
the four corners of the world.
Marie-Aude Albert-Chepik
Paris, November 18, 2013
On the second anniversary of Sergei Chepiks calling into Gods presence.

THE CIRCUS HAS COME 1978


110 x 100cm (43 x 39")

THEATRICAL PHANTASMAGORIA (DIPLOMA WORK) 1978


400 x 400cm (158 x 158")

CINDERELLA 1982
Watercolour on paper
44 x 30cm (17 x 12")

THE SWANS 1982


Watercolour on paper
44 x 30cm (17 x 12")
8

RUSSIAN TALE (IVAN DURAK)


79 x 79cm (31 x 31")

CHRISTMAS AT STARAYA LADOGA 1992


48 x 59cm (19 x 23")

THE BOAT 1982


54 x 65cm (21 x 25")

THE VOLKOV RIVER 1980


38 x 64cm (15 x 25")
10

PLIOS 1985
120 x 130cm (47 x 51")

11

THE VETERANS 1987


77 x 200cm (30 x 79")

12

CRUCIFIXION 1979-87
185 x 45cm (73 x 17")

PIETA 1988
200 x 55cm (79 x 22")

APOCALYPSE 1987-88
185 x 45cm (73 x 17")
13

PETRUSHKA 1984-86
Mixed media on wood
150 x 130cm (59 x 51")

14

15

THE LADY IN VIOLET 1988 (PORTRAIT OF MARIE-AUDE ALBERT)


78 x 69cm (31 x 27")

PORTRAIT OF YURI TROUBIKOFF 1988


80 x 70cm (31 x 28")
16

LA PARISIENNE 1988 (PORTRAIT OF MARIE-AUDE ALBERT)


29 x 29cm (11 x 11")

17

THE LADY IN BLACK 1988 (PORTRAIT OF MARIE-AUDE ALBERT)


70 x 90cm (28 x 35")

18

FIRST VARIATION ON THE THEME OF THE ODALISQUE BY INGRES 1988


60 x 73cm (24 x 29")

19

BIG CIRCUS 1989


130 x 130cm (51 x 51")

20

THE CIRCUS, THE RIDER 1991


110 x 100cm (43 x 33")

THE YELLOW CIRCUS 1989


100 x 100cm (39 x 39")
21

TAUROMACHIA 1992
110 x 110cm (43 x 43")

22

THE WINNER (BOXERS 3) 1993


130 x 89cm (51 x 35")
23

INDOOR FAMILY PORTRAIT 1992


100 x 81cm (39 x 31")

24

SHIP OF HAPPINESS 1992


108 x 90cm (42 x 35")
25

THE WHITE NIGHTS 1993


100 x 100cm (39 x 39")

26

PROCESSION 1993
100 x 100cm (39 x 39")

27

THE CHIMERAS OF NOTRE-DAME 1993


40 x 170cm (16 x 67")

28

PONT NEUF 1992


78 x 148cm (31 x 58")

29

SELF PORTRAIT WITH SUNFLOWERS 1994


90 x 71cm (36 x 28")

30

31

GOLGOTHA 1995-96
122 x 107cm (48 x 42")

32

33

ADAM AND EVE 1997


50 x 50cm (20 x 20")

34

THE TROJAN WAR 1996


162 x 81cm (64 x 32")

35

LET THERE BE LIGHT! 1997


70 x 50cm (28 x 20")

36

KING LEAR 1997


100 x 100cm (39 x 39")

37

HOMAGE TO CHAPLIN 1998


80 x 80cm (32 x 32")

38

NIJINSKY, GOD'S CLOWN 1995-97


80 x 80cm (32 x 32")

LA STRADA 2005
100 x 73cm (39 x 29)
39

PROCESSION IN SEVILLE 1992-97


100 x 100cm (39 x 39")

40

RUSSIA CRUCIFIED 1999


232 x 210cm (91 x 83")

41

PORTRAIT OF MARIE-AUDE IN ARLESIAN DRESS 1999-2001


Diameter 70cm (28")

42

VENICE: CANAL GRANDE 2000


80 x 80cm (32 x 32")

43

HIP HOP 2000


60 x 60cm (24 x 24")

44

BEFORE THE CANCAN 2001


50 x 150cm (20 x 59")

FRENCH CANCAN 2001


80 x 80cm (32 x 32")

45

BULLS AND BEARS IN THE MARKET 2003


102 x 102cm (40 x 40")

46

DIOGENES 1998-2002
150 x 50cm (59 x 20")

THE STAIRS 1998


176 x 60cm (69 x 24")

FERIA (TANGO) 1998-2002


150 x 50cm (59 x 20")

47

SECOND SKETCHES FOR ST PAUL'S 2003


47 x 68cm (18 x 27") and 100 x 68cm (39 x 27")

48

49

DREAM OF KINGS 2003


130 x 120cm (51 x 47")

50

DREAM OF KINGS 2 2005


154 x 145cm (61 x 57")

51

THE PASSION 2004


Diameter 120cm (47")

52

THE BELLRINGERS 2006


200 x 170cm (79 x 67")
53

TROCADERO 2005
110 x 100cm (43 x 39")

54

QUAI DE CONTI 2005


50 x 200cm (20 x 79")

55

THE REDEMPTION 2007


110 x 310cm (43 x 122")

THE LAST SUPPER 2007


109 x 310cm (43 x 122")

56

57

MONTMARTRE, LA NUIT 2008


73 x 91cm (29 x 36")

LES ESCALIERS DE MONTMARTRE 2008


78 x 60cm (31 x 24")

58

THE ANGEL OF NOTRE DAME 2008


110 x 110cm (43 x 43")

59

CARNIVAL IN VENICE 2008


55 x 200cm (22 x 79")

VENETIAN MIRRORS 2009


67 x 200cm (26 x 79")

60

ATLANTIDA 2009
130 x 130cm (51 x 51")

61

PORTRAIT OF VSEVOLOD MIKHAILOV 2009


81 x 100cm (32 X 39")

62

PORTRAIT OF TATIANA MIKHAILOV 2010


120 x 40cm (47 x 16")

63

A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT DREAM 2 2011


175 x 165cm (69 x 65")

64

65

SUNFLOWERS FROM PROVENCE 2009


110 x 100cm (43 x 39")

66

BLACK VENUS 2011


70 x 210cm (28 x 83")

67

MORITURI 2009
150 x 150cm (59 x 59")

68

69

THE JOYFUL BICYCLE 2011


100 x 100cm (39 x 39")

70

FINITA LA COMMEDIA 2011


130 x 98cm (51 x 38")
71

QUO VADIS 2011


240 x 250cm (95 x 99")

72

73

PORTRAIT OF MARIE-AUDE ALBERT-CHEPIK AT HER DESK 2011


73 x 100cm (29 x 39")

SERGEI CHEPIK (1953-2011)


CHRONOLOGY
1953
Sergei Chepik is born in Kiev, on June 24, the son of
renowned painter Mikhail Chepik (1920-1972) and
the sculptress Ludmila Sabaneeva (b.1921), both
members of the Union of Artists of the USSR.
1961-1973
Studies in Kiev at a secondary school specializing in arts
and then two years at the citys Shevchenko Art Institute.
Chepiks parents divorce. He is raised by his mother,
often meeting his father who keeps an eye on his
progress in drawing and painting.
1973-1978
Leaves Kiev, following his fathers death, and is
admitted to the Repin Art Institute in Leningrad (the
former Academy of Fine Arts of Saint-Petersburg),
where he graduates with flying colours.
Is admitted to the Union of Young Artists.
1978-1980
Continues his studies at the Academy in Professor
Mylnikovs studio and works on his first important
paintings.
Birth of his first son, Serguei, in 1979.
Young Painters exhibition, Manege, Leningrad (1978).
National Exhibition of Diploma works, Manege,
Leningrad and Moscow (1979).
Young painters exhibition, Union of Artists, Leningrad
(1980).
74

1981
Prague Biennale.
Russian Painting exhibition,Tokyo.
Zone 1981 exhibition, Manege, Leningrad.
National Exhibition of Young Soviet Painters,Tashkent.
Becomes a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR.
1982
National Exhibition of Young Soviet Painters, Academy
of Fine Arts, Moscow and Leningrad.
Russian Painting exhibition, Osaka and Tokyo.
Petersburg-Leningrad exhibition, Manege, Leningrad.
1983
National Exhibition of Portraits, Union of Artists, Moscow.
1984
National Exhibition of Young Soviet Painters,
Academy of Fine Arts, Moscow and Leningrad.
Exhibition Soviet Painting Week, Tokyo.
1985
First solo exhibition: Russian Landscapes, Union of
Artists, Leningrad.
Soviet Painting exhibition, Cologne.
1986
First solo and retrospective exhibition: Paintings,
graphics and ceramics, Youth Palace, Leningrad.
Meets his future French wife, Marie-Aude Albert.

1987
The House of the Dead, his second masterpiece after
Petrushka (1984-1986), is completed, but is banned
from being shown in Leningrad.
1988
Birth in Moscow of Chepiks second son, Daniil.
Moves to Paris with the help of Marie-Aude Albert,
and settles on Boulevard de Picpus.
The House of the Dead (1979-1987) is awarded the
Grand Prix at the Salon dAutomne in Paris and is
bought by the Roy Miles Gallery in London.
Russian Paintings exhibition, Roy Miles Gallery,
London.
1989
The Tree (1982-1984) receives the Monaco City
Award at the Monte Carlo International Exhibition of
Contemporary Art.
Salon de lEcole Franaise, Muse du Luxembourg,
Paris.
Russian Paintings, Roy Miles Gallery, London.
1990
Major solo and retrospective exhibition, Roy Miles
Gallery, London. Chepik receives public acclaim and
the exhibition is a sell-out. The Daily Telegraph writes:
An unknown Russian genius has come to light.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher congratulates
Chepik in the House of Commons.

1991
Solo exhibition of watercolours, Travels through
France, Roy Miles Gallery, London. Russian Art
1930-1990 exhibition, Roy Miles Gallery, London.
Chepik brings his mother Ludmila and son Serguei
from the Soviet Union and installs them near his new
studio in Paris.
1992
Chepik marries Marie-Aude Albert.
Salon dAutomne, Grand Palais, Paris: Chepik
becomes a member of the Salon dAutomne.
1993
Major solo exhibition, New Works, Roy Miles Gallery,
London.
Solo retrospective exhibition, Salon de lEcole Franaise,
Chteau de Croissy, France.
Solo retrospective exhibition, Prieur Saint-Maurice,
Senlis, France.
Paints Baroness Margaret Thatchers portrait and
finishes Rudolf Nureyevs portrait.
Salon dAutomne, Grand Palais, Paris.
Christmas Show exhibition, Roy Miles Gallery, London
1994
Solo exhibition, Recent Works, Roy Miles Gallery,
London.
Leaves the Salon dAutomne after disagreements
over policy.
1995
Major Solo exhibition, New Works, Roy Miles
Gallery, London.
Publication and presentation in London of a first
monograph: Sergei Chepik, Works, 1970-1994, by
Marie-Aude Albert.
Salon de lEcole Franaise, Chapelle Saint-Lonard,
Croissy, France.
1996
Solo exhibition of watercolours, Roy Miles Gallery,
London.
Solo exhibition of graphic works, Galerie Guiter, Paris.
Hommage au nu exhibition, Galerie Guiter, Paris.
Salon de lEcole Franaise, Chapelle Saint-Lonard,
Croissy.
1997
Solo exhibition, Galerie Guiter, Paris.
Final exhibition at the Roy Miles Gallery in London.
1998
Major solo exhibition, New works, The Catto
Gallery, London.
1999
Major solo exhibition, Golgotha, The Catto Gallery,
Cork Street, London, then exhibited at St Johns
Church in Hampstead.
Solo exhibition, Golgotha, Chteau de Gruyres,
Switzerland.
Major solo exhibition, New works, The Catto
Gallery, London.

Retrospective exhibition at the Russian Embassy in


London with the 1999 masterpiece Russia Crucified.
2000
Major solo exhibition, Chepik in Venice, The Catto
Gallery, London.
Solo exhibition, Salon de lEcole Franaise, Chapelle
Saint-Lonard, Croissy.
2001
Major solo exhibition, Chepiks Moulin Rouge, The
Catto Gallery, Cork Street, London. Salon de lEcole
Franaise, Chapelle Saint-Lonard, Croissy.
2002
Major solo exhibition, Shows, Galerie Popoff et Cie,
Fbg St Honor, Paris.
Parfums de Femmes exhibition, Mange, SaintGermain-en-Laye, France.
April 24, Chepik suffers a stroke and is found paralysed
at his home in Paris, but makes a full recovery.
Chepik is invited to exhibit Golgotha at St Pauls
Cathedral in London.
Russia Crucified exhibits at the Salon dAutomne, Paris.
Work begins on four large panels illustrating the Life
and Passion of Christ for St Pauls Cathedral in
London, commissioned by the Dean, the Very Revd
Dr. John Moses.
2003
Solo retrospective exhibition, Works: 1991-2003,
The Catto Gallery, London.
Salon de lEcole Franaise, Chapelle Saint-Lonard,
Croissy.
Chepik begins work on The Virgin Mary (or The
Nativity) and The Resurrection.
The Apocalypse of St John is exhibited at the Salon
dAutomne in Paris.
2004
Paints The Public Life of Christ and The Passion.
Masques et Miroirs exhibition, Mange, SaintGermain-en-Laye.
Salon de lEcole Franaise, Eglise de la Madeleine, Paris.
Major retrospective solo exhibition, War and Peace,
Espace Pierre Cardin, Paris
2005
January 24 inaugration of the completed quadriptych
composition entitled I am The Way, The Truth and The
Life by the Dean of St Pauls Cathedral in the
presence of Baroness Thatcher.
Solo exhibition, New Works,The Catto Gallery, London.
Salon de lEcole Franaise, Church of the Madeleine, Paris.
2006
Major solo exhibition, New works, The Catto
Gallery, London.
Publication and presentation in London of a second
monograph: Sergei Chepik: From Red Square to the
Moulin Rouge, works 1994-2001, by Marie-Aude
Albert.
Creation of 40 illustrations for Bulgakovs novel, The
White Guard.

2007
New cycle of large religious paintings: The
Redemption, The Last Supper.
2008
Major solo exhibition of religious works, Epifania,
French Cultural Centre, Milan. The Last Supper is
exhibited for the first time.
Solo exhibition, Tauromachie, Chapel of SaintAnne, Arles.
Publication in Petersburg of The White Guard of
Bulgakov with Chepiks illustrations.
40 lithographs of The White Guard exhibited at the
Mikhail Bulgakov Museum in Moscow.
Publication of a third monograph: Epiphania, the
religious paintings of Sergei Chepik, by Sergei Chepik
and Marie-Aude Albert.
Solo exhibition, New Works,The Catto Gallery, London.
Following Dr Moses retirement the new Dean removes
The Way, The Truth and The Life from St Pauls Cathedral.
2009
Solo exhibition, La Feria, Galerie Arte Viva, ParisLevallois.
Solo exhibition, Bulgakovs White Guard, Springfield
University, USA.
Major solo exhibition, New Works, The Catto
Gallery, London.
2010
Homo Sum exhibition, Slavinsky Art Gallery, SaintPetersburg.
Solo exhibition, Religious works, Notre-Dame
Church, Auvers-sur-Oise
Solo exhibition, Paris is a Feast, Paris Exclusive
Gallery, Paris.
2011
Solo exhibition, Walking in Paris, Galerie Arte Viva,
Paris-Levallois.
Solo exhibition Epiphania, Atrium, rue des SaintsPres, Paris.
Publication by Sergei Chepik and Marie-Aude Albert of
a fourth book Chepik, The White Guard of Bulgakov with
40 drawings for the Russian writers novel.
October 16, his wifes birthday, Chepik paints his final
workThe Portrait of Marie-Aude Albert at her Desk.
November 10, final solo exhibition opens at the Catto
Gallery in London.
November 18: Chepik, dies from a heart attack. His
funeral is held in the Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky in
Paris. He is buried the same day in Montmartre Cemetery.
2012
June 29, dedication of Chepiks tomb by Father
Gregor Prichodko.
2013
August 1st, Marie-Aude Albert-Chepik sets up a
foundation,The Sergei Chepik Charity Trust, intended
to keep alive the memory and promote the work of
the artist.
Publication of a fourth monograph: Sergei Chepik, Ultima
Opera (works 2008-2011) by Marie-Aude Albert.

Our thanks to all our customers who have kindly loaned their
paintings and made this retrospective possible
BACK COVER: HOMAGE TO VAN GOGH 1998 116 x 89cm (45 x 35")

CATTO GALLERY
100 Heath Street Hampstead London NW3 1DP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7435 6660 www.cattogallery.co.uk art@cattogallery.co.uk
Opening times: 10am - 6pm Mon - Sat 12.30pm - 6pm Sunday and by appointment

EXHIBITION DATES: 29th January - 13th February 2014