Gourmet Fair

The Calm of Koulbak

Victor Koulbak, Leopard, 2018. Colored pencils and silverpoint. Photo courtesy Galerie Berès. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Paris, France — The beauty of the natural world is unfolding inside the elegant  Galerie Berès art gallery in Paris overlooking the stunning banks of the Seine. The delicate watercolors and colored pencil drawings of the contemporary artist Victor Koulbak are etched in silverpoint — a technique used by Renaissance artists and medieval scribes to transcribe manuscripts — imparting upon them their distinctive aura. The Russian artist arrived in Paris in 1976 where he quickly gained an international following and a host of admirers, notably King Charles III. The exhibition at the Galerie Berès, which brings together 70 of his works, is the first solo show devoted to the artist in France in 20 years. 

Victor Koulbak, Squirrel, 2019. Watercolor and silverpoint. Photo courtesy Galerie Berès. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

He received classical training at the Russian Academy of Arts but quickly expressed his preference for the techniques of the Old Masters. He continued to paint covertly in the Soviet Union earning his living through drawings for publications. He would leave the Soviet Union for Austria in 1975 before being invited to exhibit in Sweden, which he left because of the lack of light for Paris in 1976. His works have been exhibited throughout the world. 

Victor Koulbak, Small Rabbit, 2018. Watercolor and silverpoint. Photo courtesy Galerie Berès. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

His subjects of predilection are animals, flowers and portraits and he has painted Charles III and the Queen Mother (although these are not on exhibition in the show). Koulbak’s masters are those of the Renaissance  and he switched from India ink and the feather to silverpoint, whose ultimate master was Leonardo da Vinci, after reading a work devoted to the silverpoint technique, a technique in which he is self-taught.  The  Galerie Berès is renowned for its expertise in the avant-garde movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. It was founded in 1952 by Huguette Berès and today her daughter Anisabelle Berès and granddaughter Florence Montanari are at the helm of this landmark Parisian gallery. ©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette. Exhibition until January 31st 2023. Galerie Berès, 25 Quai Voltaire, 75007 Paris, France, tel: + 33 (0)1 42 61 27 91. https://www.galerieberes.com/

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