Abdukadir Yusupov

Painter Abdukadyr Abduislamovich Yusupov is a true realist and poet of painting, who skilfully portrays modern life and nature not only of Uzbekistan, but also of other countries and regions of the world. He, beyond doubt, is a mature master of painting and composition, and a gifted colourist.

Abdukadyr Yusupov was born in 1955 in Verhnevolynskiy District of Syrdarya Province. Having completed his 8-year school education, Abdukadyr comes to Tashkent and enters the Republican Art School, graduating in 1973. His teacher, among others, was Yevgeniy Melnikov. Gifted young man was sent to the Moscow State Institute of Arts named after V. I. Surikov, where he studied under prominent Russian painter Viktor Tsyplakov, a big master of subject painting and landscape sketch. Studies in Moscow, visits to Leningrad and exposure to the original treasures of global fine arts help young Yusupov to evolve into a serious, thorough and convinced realist painter for the rest of his artistic career.

Small Street n Gava Village. 1988. Canvas, oil

When student, he was awarded the first prize at the Institute best composition contest among all the students for his painting «Gulp of Water» showing a desert and a girl handing a jug of water to a Red Army soldier.

In 1979 the young artist returned from Moscow to his native Uzbekistan with a reference letter to the Tashkent Institute of Theatre and Arts recommending him as teacher. In this institution Yusupov worked for two years. At the 1979 pan-Union art exhibition Yusupov made his debut with an oriental theme still life with kumgan, Chust knife, quince and sliced melon.

One of Abdukadyr’s first independent works was «Childhood Reminiscences» showing two village teenage boys resting in a courtyard. The elder boy is holding to a wooden post with his right hand. The younger one sits on the ground with a paper kite in his left hand. The left-hand side of the painting shows a large cart wheel, and through the open gate one can see the back of man in a gown and turban leaving the courtyard. This figure and space behind it give the composition its dynamic depth. The appeal of the canvas is in the artist’s personally experienced truth, and in its fresh, non-standard compositional solution.

Mountain Village. 1988. Canvas, oil

In 1982 the artist created a wholesome canvas, rich in terms of composition, painting and character diversity, called «Chalpak» on the subject of Tajik wedding. We can see girls dancing to the accompaniment of doira, and the admiring guests. The jury of the Tashkent exhibition of young artists rejected the canvas for some unknown reasons and the artist destroyed it. The only thing left of a quite successful painting is a photographic reproduction. In 1981 Yusupov completed a double portrait — «Self-portrait with a Friend» (painter S. Rahmetov) that was acquired by the Art Exhibitions Directorate of the Ministry of Culture of Uzbekistan.

From mid 1970s until 1990s the master was preoccupied with the theme of motherhood and created four pictures on the subject. Two of them were acquired by Gulistan City Picture Gallery. Another one, showing an elderly woman against the background of a suzane wall rug over which there hangs a piece of bread from which her son who went to war has taken a bite. It is believed that if a son who leaves home took a bite from a piece of bread, he will come back. The canvas was purchased by the Art Exhibitions Directorate.

Sukok. 1987. Canvas, oil

The Gulistan Gallery keeps a large painting by Yusupov called «Motherhood». There are two women — an elderly one and a young one with an infant on the backdrop of a pomegranate bush. A canvas called «Mother» (1981) shows an elderly woman covered in a shawl and wearing red dress. Her stern gaze reflects her enduring life. The colour charge and dark background intensify the drama of the character, making one remember old Spanish painters. Another canvas on the subject of motherhood survived in Yusupov’s workshop — a compositional variation of the painting from the Gulistan museum.

The year 1983 in the master’s artistic career was marked with the appearance of «Ulak» — a compositionally dynamic canvas. It took the artist about two months to complete the painting, but it was the outcome of real episodes of this ancient Central Asian sport he kept in his memory. The picture shows three horsemen riding ahead of all other contestants in the race, fighting for the goat carcass. The dynamics of the vying sport riders brings to memory classical canvases by P. Rubens and E. Delacroix. Yet there is no direct imitation of borrowing from the great masters. The composition, beyond doubt, is original and captivating in its stunning expressivity. The equestrian rivals are pictured realistically, with expressive anatomy. Unfortunately, the painting has not survived, and only a photo reproduction was kept in the artist’s archive.

Small House in the Mountains. 1996. Canvas, oil

In that same year, 1983, Yusupov visited Khiva, where he created a series of studies painted from life, reflecting the unparalleled original architecture of this Central Asian city. The Khiva studies perfectly communicate the deep perspective of the urban space. It was the realistic method of painting from life that enabled Yusupov to present the uniqueness of layout of houses, streets and monuments of this city so confidently and convincingly. A large number of the Khiva studies became part of private collections.

In 1989 the artist made a two months journey to the House of Arts in Gurzuf (Crimea). The wintry Gurzuf with its narrow seaside streets, its peculiar maritime architecture and evergreen vegetation found in Yusupov another gifted interpreter, realist painter and romantic. His Gurzuf landscape, «The Lebanese Pines», is monumentally impressive in its painting, composition and format.

In 1990 the master painted «Childhood». A young boy in underpants stands near the cart, with unharnessed donkey on the left. Behind them is a summery landscape. On the right, above the boy’s head, there is a corner of a tree and blue summer sky. «Childhood» is a picture of small format, yet very well considered compositionally. It has nothing redundant or accidental.

In «The Shah and The Dervish» (1991) one can sense an apparent improvisation in the style of oriental miniature. The artist followed a common tendency towards mastering ancient local artistic traditions. At about the same time Yusupov created portraits of an actress Yaira Abdullaeva and the Honorary Artist of Uzbekistan Zamira Davlatmuradova.

In 1990s Yusupov painted many landscapes while continuing his work on portraits.

In 1992 Uzbek cinematographers (namely film director Shermukhamedov) offered Yusupov to work on a set for the film called «Sogdiana». The set was made by the artist in the Tajik city of Isfara where the filming took place.

Quite remarkable is his refined, noble, very delicate and professional painting of Sijak mountain landscapes performed in 1994. Almost all landscapes from that series were purchased by private collectors.

Flawless from every point of view is the artist’s landscape study «Almond Blossoms» painted from life in 1997. Also in 1997 for the Museum of Temurid History in Tashkent Yusupov painted a landscape portraying Gur Emir, Temur’s burial-vault in Samarqand.

In the early years of the new millennium Yusupov created a series of autumnal landscapes painted from life in the area of Charvak water reservoir. The landscapes are notable for the masterful representation of the nature around Charvak, the harmony of crimson and bronze shades of autumnal trees in combination with greenish colour of Charvak water and deep blue of the surrounding mountains.

The «Chimgan Sketch», also autumnal, with snow-capped mountains, stands out by the high standard of mature skill in realistic painting. Yusupov’s landscape «Chimgan at Dusk», dim in its slightly hazy pinkish-ochre colour range, is notable for its exquisite and profoundly lyrical perception of nature.

When painting his landscapes, the artist pursues an objective to communicate the light-and-air environment of the mountain open air. At the first glance, some of these landscapes may appear pale, even whitish. Yet this impression is deceptive. By looking closely at these landscape studies one becomes convinced that in front of us is painting very subtle in its colour range, which in its character and subtlety echoes painting of a remarkable landscape painter from Samarqand Rashid Timurov.

Graphic art occupies a special place in the art of Abdukadyr Yusupov. It is certainly much more modest than his painting, yet it still deepens and broadens our idea about the range of his art. Using pencil, charcoal, or sangina, Yusupov draws nudity. These drawing breathe with the artist’s keen, sensual perception of it. These, as his painting, are profoundly realistic, and, from a professional standpoint, are based on a solid, undisputable foundation of classical European fine art. Of these drawing quite notable is the «Self-portrait» performed in sangina, charcoal and pencil, which is memorable in its accurate portrait semblance and powerful expressive mastery.

In 2004, collector Y. N. Golitaev, the owner of a large-format unfinished painting «The Bedanaboz» by a well-known Russian painter I. S. Kazakov who worked in Russia and Turkistan in the first third of the 20th century, offered Yusupov to complete the painting of this very typical subject for pre-revolutionary Uzbekistan. Kazakov only outlined the overall composition and put some oil paints here and there, painting heads and some details in the picture. Very skilfully, preserving Kazakov’s realistic style, Yusupov successfully completed this canvas of great historical and artistic value.

The art of Abdukadyr Yusupov, an accomplished realist painter, master of portrait, an insightful landscape artist and gifted genre painter, is notable for its subject diversity, multifaceted compositional and pictorial interpretation of nature, and his commitment to the traditions of realism in art.

Rafail Taktash