Artist Jan Levinshtein, real name Yakov Ilich Levinshtein, was born on February 3, 1923 in the city of Tashkent in a Jewish family, a native of a small town near Bobruisk. Mother, Anna Leikina, medical worker. Father, Ilya Levinshtein, accountant. In the beginning of the 20th century, the family of Jan Levinshtein, like many other Jewish families living in small towns near the city of Bobruisk, experienced all the horrors of Jewish pogroms, was forced to move to the city of Tashkent, where Yakov was born.
Studying at school at little Jacob did not go absolutely. Most of the time he spent on the street among the same as he little ignoramuses.
As if he had found a piece of soft stone on the ground, he carved a human head from it and showed his creation to his mother. Anna Leikina nebuduchi prosvschennoy in art by a woman, but possessing a natural sense of beauty realized that the child has a talent. And so Yakov began to engage in sculpture and later painting in the art studio of the Tashkent Palace of Pioneers. Possessing great natural abilities, he quickly reached a level that his works began to notice and adult artists (the artist Volkov). That’s why in the circle of his communication there were people much older than him. The first time he participated in the exhibition among adult artists at the age of 13 years. At the same time, the boy began studying piano. Under the guidance of his uncle, a music teacher, he quickly achieved the same impressive successes as in painting.
Later, as Jan Levinshtein himself told, the final choice between music and jivipis was very difficult for him. In early 1941, he was ready to enter both an art college and a conservatory. After much painful meditation, the decision was made, the painting won.
But even in the future, at the age of forty, he surprised the people around him with brilliant performances of Scriabin, Beethoven, Mozart.
At the end of the summer of 1941, with the onset of the German armies, evacuation of many universities to the interior of the country began. The Surikov Institute, one of the most prestigious art colleges of the Soviet Union, was happily evacuated to Samarkand, which is not so far from Tashkent.
So, 18 years old, Jacob, having chosen his best work, went to enter.
In the first months of the war, because of the terrible confusion that was going on in the country, the road turned out to be much longer than he expected. Yakov arrived in Samarkand with a delay of several days. After appearing on the admission committee, he received a dry reply: “You are late, come next year.” Already at the exit from the institute, he was stopped by an unfamiliar man who turned out to be none other than Academician Serov, one of the luminaries of Soviet painting of that time. Accidentally passing by, he became interested in the works of Yakov standing at the door and examined them carefully. The verdict was read out immediately – in connection with the extraordinary giftedness of the artist, enroll without exams. And so, Ya Kov Levinshtein, so unexpectedly arrived in Surikovka, was in the workshop luminaries of that time, Professor Grobar. Later he remembered Grobar as a dry, very academic, but gave a lot of basic skills of the professor.
In the years of training in Surikovka there were also friends. Among them, Ilya Tabenkin, to whom Jacob had his whole future life with great respect and love. And so passed the years of training, approached a diploma. Yakov’s thesis “Beethoven’s Quartet”, which for a long time was exhibited in the corridors of the large hall of the Conservatory, was so successful that, in addition to the received five, by the decision of the examination committee, he was immediately admitted to the Union of Artists of the USSR. One venerable academician from the diploma jury then told him: “You will continue in the same spirit, you are provided with bread and butter, and even with caviar.” But Jacob was not going to continue in the same spirit, but more on that later.
After the university, as usual, the distribution is the Irkutsk Art College. The students taught by Yakov were mostly former war veterans who had passed the hardest trials of the war, often at an age much older than him. But in spite of this, the young Yakov used the not infamous teaching and human authority among them. Once in the summer holidays, in his spare time from the training process, he was lucky to live a few months on the island of Alkhon, which is in the middle of Baikal. He lived in a family of fishermen, the only inhabitants of the island. Together with them went on catching omul and certainly wrote. The wild nature of the Baikal region left a huge number of vivid impressions in the memory of the young artist.
Early 50’s, return to Moscow, work in the combine of the picturesque art of the Moscow branch of the Union of Artists (MOSH). He signed his works, Jan Levinshtein, so his artistic pseudonym appeared.
At the same time, the acquaintance with the young graduate of the Moscow Institute of Architecture – Tatyana Mikheeva. She was an architect, she was also an artist (a brilliant watercolor artist).
Young people were fascinated by each other. In 1953, they became husband and wife. October 13, 1956 they had a son, Fyodor, who later became a jazz violinist.
Jan Levinshtein did not choose for himself the path, predetermined by his venerable disfavors. Material well-being, he preferred creative search. Fulfilling the “creative orders” MOSH, he set out in search of his own beauty.
There were also companions, absolutely different, but in their bright artists. They are Zverev, Krasnopevtsev, Sitnikov, Shchetinin.
The beginning of the sixties was marked by the writing of works in which the artist’s uniqueness began to manifest itself. These are such works as “Motherhood”, “Lovers”, “Three”, etc.
But the truly original face of the master took shape in the series Circus: “The funeral of the clown,” “Clown with bound hands,” and many others.
In the early 70-ies was organized and successfully passed the first personal exhibition of the artist, which was held at the Institute of Physical Problems of Petr Leonidovich Kapitsa. In the organization of this exhibition, a great help was rendered by Kapitsa’s scientific assistant Pavel Evgenievich Rubinin, who later became a friend of the artist’s family.
Jan Levinshteyn tried his hand at monumental art – painting in the palace of culture of a searchlight plant.
In the 80 years came and commercial success. Paintings began to flourish. Among buyers were like Russian collectors and foreigners.
Written in these years, a series of paintings “Candles”, forced to talk about the artist as a great original master.
Also, many creative forces, Jan Levinshtein gave the writing of portraits, which always differed in the unexpectedness of the artist’s view of nature. Among the admirers of the artist were Yuri Nikulin, Bulat Okudzhava, Mikhail Kazakov, Czhengiz Aitmatov. Portrait of Yuri Nikulin is a masterpiece of the artist.
1993 year. Personal exhibition in France. Acquaintance with the French landscape painter – Zara.
Jan Levinshtein worked until the end of his days. He died on September 5, 2010, leaving behind a large number of paintings and graphic works.
We invite you to the exhibition from 16 to 30 November 2014.