russian tom thomson

vladimir chaim, oil on canvas

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vladimir chaim was a the first russian painter to record the exalted wilderness of the siberian landscape. he was raised near lake baikal, the world's deepest fresh-water lake, where his father,  a huntsman, was well known for his exploits amongst the women in the buryat tribe.  if there was a dna test given to the children of the buryats born at the turn of the 20th century, vladimir would have discovered that he had 399 half-sisters and half-brothers.

vladimir was an inventive young man, displaying much enthusiasm for doing traditional things in untraditional ways.  in 1917,  he set out in a small, handmade raft that he designed to be a floating painting platform,  had the intention of making a series of landscape paintings from the point of view of the middle of lake baikal, on his drifting, buoyant studio.

the following is excerpted from vladimir chaim's sketchbook journal, late summer 1917:

...i am seeing the landscape in a new way... through veils of water and sunlight. my sense of reality has been altered as the rising prism of water molecules refract the light and create an image that is ethereal, illuminated, animated...the trees are wind, the earth is the sun, the water is light...

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