Josefovich Ruzho

Russia • 1922−XX century
Vladimir Ruzho made a great contribution to the fine art of Smolensk and created a huge number of picturesque and graphic images of his native city. At the exhibition the viewers will see Smolensk of the 1950s and 1960s: historical buildings and new construction sites, the postwar revived city and the people living in it.
Ruzho's works have a unique atmosphere of the time and are interesting not only in terms of their undeniable artistic merits, but also in historical terms. The exhibition brings together graphic and pictorial works from the funds of the Smolensk State Museum-Reserve, as well as works provided by the artist's family.
Vladimir Ruzho was born in Smolensk on July 1, 1922. He lived in an orphanage until he was thirteen, then became an apprentice cook at Smolensk railway station. The main hobby of Vladimir's childhood and youth was drawing. After working in the kitchen he came to the art studio of the Palace of Pioneers. His first teacher was a Smolensk artist, an outstanding teacher Fedor Fedorovich Labrents.
Ruzho was actively engaged, made drawings for the newspaper "Young Pioneer", and in March 1941 he became a member of the Smolensk branch of "Vsekohuzhnik". Young Vladimir Ruzho's second passion was aviation, he studied at the Smolensk flying club. The war changes Ruzho's life plans, from the very beginning - he is at the front. He entered Borisoglebsk Higher Aviation School of Pilots (Voronezh region), went through the whole war.
In 1947, after his demobilization, Rougeau returned to his native Smolensk. A combat pilot chooses fine art and from that time his formation as a master begins. He joins the Smolensk Artists Association, is engaged in self-education, studies with fellow artists, in groups of art houses of the Art Fund, paints etudes from life, experiments with different techniques. In 1948, he first participated in the regional exhibition.
In 1958 Ruzho was accepted as a member of the Union of Artists. Collaborated with the newspapers "Rabochiy Put", "Smena", performed posters, postcards, worked on diafilms, participated in the design of productions of the regional puppet theater. A large page in his art of the 1950s and 60s he worked on book graphics. He designed dozens of books for the Smolensk Book Publishers, including works by Nikolai Rylenkov.
In his essence, the artist Vladimir Ruzho is a landscape painter. He loved his city, he excitedly painted images of Smolensk reborn from the ruins and ashes, created lyrical landscapes of Smolensk nature. Rougeau can be fully called a chronicler and singer of the city.
Looking at Smolensk with love, ceaselessly admiring it, he reveals the beauty he has seen to the viewer. In the 1960-70s, V.I. Ruzho was among the leading Russian graphic artists. He was one of the first Smolensk artists to use etching, and it is in etching that Ruzho's talent was best and brightest displayed. His best works are connected to this difficult but inexhaustible technique.
Beginning with miniature etchings, in the 1960s he created a magnificent series of large-format etchings "Through Smolensk". Frozen monuments of antiquity, where time seems to have stopped, and next to each other - silhouettes of new houses, a television tower, steel structures of new buildings, the rush of trucks with cheerful people, noiselessly sliding buses on the asphalt, the motley crowd of squares. The urban landscapes of Rougeau are alien to statism. Full of motion, dynamism, expression, they boldly, broadly, in different tones and angles convey the pulse of the eternally young city and the modern rhythms of its bustling life.
In parallel with etchings, the artist works in painting, and here Smolensk remains the main subject. One of the most successful and memorable works by Vladimir Ruzho is "Smolensk Panorama". Clouds drifting over the sky, the city is immersed in the midday haze of the July sun, and Smolensk looms majestically through the silvery gamut of colors. The artist repeated the successful composition in different years. One of the versions is kept in the collection of the Smolensk Museum-Reserve, the other is in the artist's family.
Vladimir Iosifovich showed his works at group exhibitions of various ranks and held five of his personal exhibitions (1959, 1965, 1968, 1972, 1982). In 1979 he was awarded the diploma of the Union of Artists of the RSFSR "For creative successes in the development of Soviet fine arts". Severe illness since 1975, actually stopped the creative process of the talented Smolensk artist Vladimir Iosifovich Ruzho. He passed away in May 1998.
The merit of Rougeau's best works about Smolensk is that behind the outward appearance we feel the very spirit of the city-warrior, the city-builder, we feel the unique austere beauty of its history and everyday life of the post-war period. We invite you to return to Smolensk in the middle of the last century and look at it through the eyes of the artist Rougeau.
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