Vjacheslav ZABELIN (Moscow, 1935 – 2001)

Vyacheslav Nikolaevich Zabelin was born in 1935 in Khamovniki, an old region of Moscow. After the war, in the late 1940’s, he had the opportunity to work in the studio of M.A. Slanov. One day as he was working in the studio, the famous artist K.F. Yuon came to visit. Yuon took notice of Zabelin’s work which resulted in Zabelin’s acceptance to the “1905” Moscow Art School in 1956. His studies here continued until 1961 when he enrolled in the Surikov Institute. Zabelin spent the next six years at the Surikov, studying under Professor V. Tsyplakov, obtaining his diploma and continuing on to get his post-graduate degree. Yuon would continue to help direct Zabelin along his educational path as well as inspire his work.
Like most Russian artists, Zabelin was strongly influenced by the Russian world around him. He said “I was born and grew up in Moscow…the old streets, the hidden quirks of this place, the Novodevichii Monastery, made me into an artist. These are my native areas, my small homeland”. His most favorite place to paint was in the Old Russian city of Rostov, from where a large majority of his paintings originate. He loved Russian architecture because of its wonderful asymmetry that could have been so easily balanced by some small window or arch on its fascade. In 1967 Vyacheaslav Zabelin was invited to teach at the Surikov Institute, which he graciously accepted. About his teaching approach he once said “In my pedagogical work, I have attempted to help facilitate my students to find their own voice and for them to understand their souls, and help those souls create, in an unrepeatable language.” Zabelin was a major supporter of artistic education and training that was deeply rooted in tradition and achievement. He was not fond of “amateur” or “homegrown” art. In the process of teaching, Zabelin motivates his students to master not his way of painting, not his view of things or his method, but the principles of art. Vyacheslav Nikolaivich Zabelin was a member of the Moscow River School of painters. He taught at the Surikov until his death in October of 2001. His friend, and journalist Vizzhilin later wrote: “The things that made Zabelin stand out as a central figure in the Russian arts were his wholehearted search for aesthetic sense; his deep knowledge of Russian painting and literature; and his delicate understanding of the interdependence and inevitability of the changing of artistic styles, the richness of which is ever apparent in Russian culture.” He says also that the very essence of Zabelin’s work is that it “rose up from the traditions of Russian art and [had] its roots in the deepest strata of Russian life.” Zabelin has been called the greatest Russian Impressionist of the 20th Century.


Moscow, Tretyakov Gallery
Moscow, IRRI/IRRA (Institute of Russian Realist Art)
Moscow, Art Prima Gallery
St. Petersburg, Russian State Museum
Ekaterinburg, Ekaterinburg Fine Art Museum
Jaroslav, Jarosalv Fine Arts Museum
Kiev, Russian Art Museum
Kaluga, Kaluga Fine Arts Museum
Kostroma, Kostroma Fine Art Museum
Kurjan, Kurjan Fine Arts Museum
Novosibirsk, Novosibirsk Fine Art Museum
Nizhnij Novgorod, Nizhnij Novgorod Fine Art Museum
Orenburg, Orenburg Fine Art Museum
Orlov, Orlov Fina Art Museum
Rjazan, Rjazan Fine Arts Museum
Rostov, The Rostov Kremlin Art Museum (an entire hall dedicated to his work)
Rostov, Artist Architectural Reserve Museum
Taganrog, Taganrog Picture Gallery Museum
Tver, Picture Gallery Museum

Works by Vjacheslav Zabelin are published in coloured monographs edited by the Gallery.