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Artist Collective / The New Barbizon

The New Barbizon

The New Barbizon group has been active in Israel since 2010. It was founded by five women, painters born in the former Soviet Union, who immigrated to Israel in the 1990s (with the exception of Zourabova who immigrated in 2004). Today it numbers three members: Natalia Zourabova, Anna Lukashevsky, and Olga Kundina.
The group's name alludes to the mid-19th century French Barbizon School, whose artists worked in the French countryside of Barbizon. They painted in the great outdoors and strove for realism. Painting en plein air was not an outing for its own sake, but resistance to Romantic and Neo-classical painting and carried a socially valid statement.
Like the French school, the New Barbizon artists also paint from observation, striving to express criticism and articulate a social position. Rather than going out to the bourgeois nature of the 19th century, they go out into the urban jungle with easels and paints; sitting and painting for hours in city centers, markets, and conflict zones. They go to social and political points of friction and areas of complex hardship provided by the current Israeli reality today; ethnically mixed places, where refugees, immigrants, and workers live, which star in their paintings.
The New Barbizon members studied at various academies in the Soviet Union and Europe and conceived of a realistic and figurative painterly language based on simple forms and rich colors, with affinities to Russian painting traditions. Over the years, each of them developed a personal style and a separate career. Today they paint together and independently.


The painting on the truck was executed by all three. The subject was chosen from a past project, where they painted women on the street, Israeli women from all sectors, a collection that reflects the women of Israel. They chose to depict large figures so that they would stand out from afar, without emphasizing nuances. The painted portraits are of real women. They were painted with a long brush as did Matisse in his final days while sitting in a wheelchair. The painting is free, the brush strokes and colors are strong-as per the group's principles. The New Barbizons say that they feel like tough propaganda artists, as in Soviet propaganda.

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