Fedor Zakharov, one of the greatest Russian artists of the second half of the twentieth century, occupies an honorable place in the development of Russian and European art, especially in the fields of landscape and still-life painting.
“If I decided to be a landscape painter, then I needed to create such paintings that can compete with other genres in the strength of their influence. My extraordinary teachers taught me to paint. With their help, I grasped the laws of composition and perspective; they developed my taste. The ability to distinguish between colors was given to me at birth, but I had to work hard to achieve everything else. In my paintings I never strove to depict the most typical features of reality which was the main goal of socialist realism, the leading politically derived style in our country. I had different intentions: I wanted to convey to people the beauty of the surrounding world, to awaken the best feelings in them. I always felt that the main thrust of a person’s life should be uplifting and enabling the soul, and that art plays a crucial role in this development.”
By the end of the nineteen fifties, Fedor Zakharov was an accomplished master. He had created his own unique style and artistic manner.
Comments at the time included:
Zakharov is a titan of our time, creating the strongest impression
Zakharov should be placed in the same row with the French Impressionists of the nineteenth century. Magnificent works, harmony of color and of shapes.
Zakharov’s paintings should be displayed in the Russian Museum of St. Petersburg together with the works of Korovin, Levitan and Vrubel.
This last suggestion came true. Several works by Zakharov were soon purchased by the Russian Museum of St. Petersburg, a world class museum of the same rank as New York’s Metropolitan and Paris D’Orsay, a stunning achievement for a forty-year old painter.
in 1979, Zakharov celebrated his sixtieth birthday with a personal exhibition at which Ivan Kozlovsky, the famous leading tenor of the Bolshoi Theatre, said”In front of the painting of this great artist my voice sounds especially fresh, clear and heartfelt.” At this exibition, Zakharov attained a new level of recognition as many museums within the Soviet Union purchased works, including the world famous Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow.
Not many painters achieve such distinction in their lifetime and the creative activity of Zakharov could not be ignored by the official authorities. In 1970, Fedor was nominated as the Honored Painter of the Ukraine. In 1978, he was again honored, this time as the Peoples’ Painter of Ukraine.
Perhaps the most amazing fact about all of the awards Zakharov received in this lifetime is that he was awarded them in spite of the fact that he never followed the official USSR course in fine arts – the dogmatic style of socialist realism. He is remembered throughout Russia as one of the greatest painters, a bearer of the torch in their proud legacy of artistic greatness.