By Joe F. Bodenstein
This article was first published in the prominent monthly Russian art magazine ART COUNCIL, September 2005 issue.
The Golden Triangle: Salvador Dalí, Ernst Fuchs and Arno Breker. The works of these three artist-friends are the cornerstone of the collection of the US Museum of European Art.
Copyright: Museum Arno Breker, Nörvenich
New York/Moscow (bpb) The US Museum of European Art (MEAUS) is a privately financed non-profit institution in the United States. Its goal is to support artists of our time by introducing their works to the public. The founder of the Museum, Consul B. John Zavrel, has been since the very beginning interested in using art for better understanding between the people of the West and East. Zavrel's valuable contribution is to introduce highly talented sculptors, painters and photographers, who are not much known in the public.
In the international dialog for the artists, Zavrel has been using his contacts to high-ranking politicians: Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Vaclav Havel, German presidents and ministers. "It is good to have their approval of our engagement to use art for better understanding", said Zavrel. "But it seems easier in politics to get billions of dollars for weapons, than a thousand dollars for cultural engagement."
The success of MEAUS is based on the honesty and the realistic views of Zavrel. The American of Czech background--like Andy Warhol--established the Museum in a small building in Clarence, New York.
The Museum is still looking for sponsors for a larger building. "We use the modern technical communications to inform the public world-wide about our activities", said Zavrel in an interview. "The world-wide web is a big help. Our internet bulletin PROMETHEUS for Art, News, Politics and Science is an excellent platform to introduce to its readers interesting people of our time, who have something to say in art. An artist is not great if he is popular in the media, but he is unique by the quality of his artworks."
'The Goddesses of Fate of Antiquity', one of the latest sculptures by Renate Stendar-Feuerbaum. The 85-year old Swiss lady sculptor is well represented in the Museum's permanent collection.
This is a fact: Artists in a democratic society need more than ever before a private engagement to bring them ahead. In a centrally guided state--or a so-called dictatorship as we had in the Third Reich in Germany or in the Soviet Union with the leader Josef Stalin--a certain group of artists were supported by the government officials. The government built great works of architecture, and supported the realistic art. In this way were created monuments, which remind us of great successes in a given political period. At the same time, the former governments in the United States had also commissioned artworks that the American people and the visiting tourists alike still admire today.
In the United States, historical buildings and monuments were mostly sponsored by private people. The famous Statue of Liberty in New York is a present of France. We find similar symbols and famous landmarks also in Russia, from her eventful past. It is to be hoped that they will be preserved as a reminder of the history of the 20th century, and will not become victims of vandalism.
The richness of cultural collections in the United States is based on old families and individual collectors. Since the end of the Second World War and the fall of the Hitler empire, the realistic art has been discriminated against by official institutions. "It is our duty to give the classical artists new chances and hopes", said Zavrel. "Nobody should forget: the realistic art is the foundation of modern art. Without craftsmanship, a person cannot create artworks of fundamental value."
This opinion is shared by the European Art Foundation (EKS) in Berlin. This privately financed institution co-operates with the Museum of European Art by supporting its art exhibitions. "Our policy is to arrange exhibitions, bringing artists of our time together with the great names of the past like Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Arno Breker, Henry Matisse, Aristide Maillol and Auguste Rodin," said the EKS curator Kurt Arentz. He himself is a sculptor and an open-minded personality.
'MONASTERY', an oil painting by the Russian-born painter Binyamin Shalumov.
Copyright: B. Shalumov, New York
Russia is a land of culture and high traditional values
Zavrel has proved his interest in the art of Eastern Europe. He exhibited works of sculptors and painters from the Czech Republic, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Rumania and Bulgaria. On several occasions, MEAUS has exhibited the interesting paintings of the much respected and admired Russian-born painter Binyamin Shalumov, who now lives in the United States.
"Much more could be done, if we can find private sponsors in the former Soviet Republics", said Zavrel. "The artists of our time need commissions. It would be a wise investment of the new rich society in Russia to buy sculptures and paintings by Russian and European artists to show the cosmopolitan spirit of the New Generation. Investing in Art is much better than to spend money only on vacations in Monaco and with the high society on the beaches along the French vacation coast Côte d'Azur."
The Museum of European Art has attractive works by a number of highly valued European artists of our era. The Museum can make these works available to Russian collectors, as well as to all friends of classical art in USA and Europe. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
"Russia is a land of culture and high traditional values", said the curator Kurt Arentz. It would be great, if in prosperous times the new Russian generation spends some money also on the art of lasting value. "Over the years of the Cold War, Russia has kept the public's interest in Europe and the United States mainly thanks to her literature, music, architecture and art. To continue this tradition is a permanent responsibility of the wealthy people, to bring and keep Russia at the top of international reputation.
For more information see the following web sites:
www.meaus.com, www.europaeische-kultur-stiftung.org, www.museum-arno-breker.org
© PROMETHEUS 99/2005