Alevtina Dmitrievna Pyzhova, who grew up in Moscow in a military family, was drawn to art from an early age, but was denied entry to art school for being blind in her left eye. For many years she worked in various jobs – as a secretary, technician and theatre administration – but she continued to paint and also to sew quilts and carve figurines.

Her artistic career took off in 1999 when she was discovered by the art historian Ksenia Boguemskaya, a pioneering champion of naïve and self-taught art in Russia, who helped many artists in their self-discovery and built understanding and public recognition for them in their homeland. Pyzhova came to wider public attention when Boguemskaya organised a talent competition on Russian television.

The main themes of her work are love and eroticism, and she explained that many of her subjects were based on the circumstances of her own personal life. She also painted anti-communist themes, and illustrated mythological and fantastic stories. Distinctive features of her style are bright colours combined with decorative and fabulous images, often depicting strange animals in lush forests, resembling the landscapes of Rousseau.

Pyzhova’s paintings were first exhibited at the Museum of Naïve Art in Pskov in 1999, and over the next decade were included in exhibitions in Vologda, Moscow, Murmansk, Cannes, Bratislava and Prague.

We are very grateful to our Russian friend Yuri for introducing us to the work of this artists, and for supplying the images.


Example illustration