Dobri Dobrev (1898–1973)
Between the Native and the Foreign
120 Years Since the Birth of the Artist
14 May 2019 – 28 July 2019
The exhibition includes over a hundred paintings and drawings. The two principal corpora were provided for participation by the heirs of the artist and by the Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven. The family of Dimitar Dobrev is the Co-organiser, and the Curator is Associate Professor Dr Ruzha Marinska. The project partners are: the Bulgarian Cultural Institute, Prague; Sofia City Art Gallery; the National Museum of Military History; the galleries of Kazanlak, Montana and Stara Zagora; the National Academy of Art, and private collectors.
The project was realised with the support of the Cultural Programme of Sliven Municipality, E.Miroglio EAD and New Bulgarian University.
The exhibition on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the artist’s birth aims to present the most significant examples of his oeuvre so that we can place it in the context and against the backdrop of the trends of Bulgarian and European art during that epoch.
In the panorama of the Bulgarian art of the twentieth century, Dobri Dobrev has his own place. In his genre painting, portraiture and landscape, he has created scores of works distinguished by their high quality and personal style.
To the movement for native art, largely determining the image of Bulgarian culture during the two interwar decades, Dobri Dobrev offered his own version where his interest in local colour and the archetype was organically bonded with delicate poeticity and involvement in the human world. Familiar and loved since childhood, the images of Sliven and the Sliven region never ceased to excite him, coming to life in his mature paintings of the 1930s. What he had seen in Czechoslovakia—the Czech miners and foundries, and his glowing Slovak cycle—naturally accompanied his Bulgarian works and complemented his image during this culminant period for Dobri Dobrev.
Highly appreciated as a portraitist, he is now presented for the first time with representative exemplars and can be seen within the entire spectrum of artistic potentialities of the creator and variants of the genre.
An extensive cycle of drawings, executed in different techniques, but with a constantly sharp power of observation and the ability to grasp the soul of the model and the motif, convince us that before us there is a true master of the drawing.
The landscapes, which in the later years occupied an increasing part of his work, express his devoted love for the Bulgarian nature.
Viewed from a distance, Dobri Dobrev’s art impresses with its integrity, consistency in his search for his own path, and high-quality painting. It allows us to rank him among the greatest Bulgarian artists of his time.
Associate Professor Dr Ruzha Marinska