Preserving art, freedom, and human dignity in the age of the totalitarian state has been one of the great challenges of the twentieth century. In Centaur, Slavic scholar Albert Leong chronicles the life and work of the greatest living Russian sculptor and philosopher of art. Based on extensive research in the formerly closed Soviet archives, exclusive interviews with Neizvestny, his family, and friends, Centaur tells the amazing story of a visionary artist and World War II commando officer who narrowly escaped death on the battlefield, successfully defied Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and the KGB to create acclaimed works of monumental art. Forced into exile to the West in 1976, Ernst Neizvestny returned in triumph to the Soviet Union in 1989 to design the first monuments in Russia to the countless victims of Stalinist political repression. Centaur will engross specialists and general readers interested in biography, cultural history, art, architecture, politics, and Russian/Soviet studies.
The late Albert Leong received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and was professor emeritus of Slavic languages at the University of Oregon. A specialist on modern Russian culture and the leading Western authority on Ernst Neizvestny, he compiled and translated Neizvestny's Space, Time, and Synthesis In Art: Essays on Art, Literature, and Philosophy.
Chapter 1 Introduction: The Odyssey of a Russian Artist Chapter 2 Roots of a Russian Centaur Chapter 3 The Formation of an Artist in the Soviet Union Chapter 4 The Artist in War Chapter 5 Riga Chapter 6 Moscow Chapter 7 The Challenger Chapter 8 Art Intrigues Chapter 9 Confrontation with Khrushchev Chapter 10 The Years of Disfavor Chapter 11 Ernst Neizvestny, Monumentalist Chapter 12 Road to Emigration Chapter 13 Exile Chapter 14 Return to Russia Chapter 15 The Gulag Triangle Chapter 16 Mask of Mourning Chapter 17 Shelter Found