BULGARIA`S DAME OF MODERN ART
VERA NEDKOVA (1906 – 1996)
22 December 2016 – 26 February 2017
Opening on Thursday, 22 December, at 18:00
The Palace, Knyaz Alexander I Sq.
On the occasion of 110 years since the birth of the Bulgaria`s Dame of Modern Art, Vera Nedkova (1906–1996), the National Gallery organises a representative jubilee exhibition. For the first time, her entire oeuvre is on display, with an emphasis on the paintings and drawings from the artist’s bequest made to the National Gallery in 1995.
In the halls of the Palace, a total of 222 artworks will be shown: 137 paintings and 85 drawings following the creative path of Vera Nedkova from the Vienna Academy (1923–1930) as a student of Prof. Karl Sterrer, through her exhibitions in Bulgaria in the 1930s and works from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and the early 1990s. Many of them have never been shown before. They are kept in the Vera Nedkova House Museum and are part of the bequest.
Born and raised in an intellectual environment, a daughter of a Bulgarian diplomat, Vera Nedkova developed her interest in the fine arts at a very early age. Between 1923 and 1930, she studied painting in Vienna. That is where she also made her first public appearance in 1933. Her works from this period are characterised by a simplified and generalised form, a pure, synthetic line, and a delicate pastel colouration.
In 1934, the Nedkov family returned to Bulgaria. Vera Nedkova worked intensively creating compositions, landscapes, portraits, and self-portraits. The colouring in her works changed, becoming warmer, vivid, and saturated; the texture in her pictorial canvases was enriched. In 1934 and 1939, she organised two solo exhibitions in Sofia. She also became a member of the Society of New Artists.
After the mid-1940s, Vera Nedkova adapted with difficulty to the arrival of change and the taste of the time. Between 1946 and 1961, at the suggestion of Nikola Mavrodinov, she headed the restoration atelier for medieval art at the National Archaeological Museum. She continued painting, often in the evenings or at night. New themes appeared in her creative work. Her landscapes gradually become compositions of rural life and working life. Several of her paintings bear a very personal and intimate character, saturated with inner light and enchantment.
In the early 1960s, with the ‘thawing’ of artistic life, Vera Nedkova again began to take part in all representative exhibitions. In her canvases, the bright colouration that she had discovered in her first contact with the Bulgarian environment, returned, but with a peculiar vitality of colour and much greater chroma. In 1973, her Jubilee Exhibition was held at 125, Rakovski Street. The evolution in her works from this period progressed towards a greater freedom and pictorial expressiveness. The emotional suggestion was mainly achieved through a plastic construction of the form and diversity of the texture. In most of her paintings, she shifted the emphasis from the silhouette and the simplified form to the expressive and colourful organisation of spatial plans. It is to that time that her compositions bordering on abstraction belong—a trend in her oeuvre consciously developed in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. Her next jubilee exhibition was in 1984 at the Union of Bulgarian Artists.
The National Gallery presented the art of Vera Nedkova in 2001 and 2006. In 2004, her house museum officially opened at 2, 11 August Street in Sofia.