Thematic Photo Album Devoted to the Anniversary of Sculptor Stepan Erzya

From: Museum Collection

In November 2016, we are celebrating the anniversary of the outstanding Russian artist and sculptor - Stepan Dmitrievich Nefedov better known under a creative pseudonym Stepan Erzya.

Stepan Dmitrievich Erzya was born on October 27 (November 7), 1876 in the village Bayevo, Alatyr province, Simbirsk region in a peasant’s family. He started learning drawing in icon-painting workshops of Alatyr and Kazan. In the beginning of 1900s, young sculpture developed his brilliant inborn talents and abilities in Moscow school of painting, sculpture and architecture. During the period of 1907-1914, he studied and worked in various art studios and sculptural workshops of Europe.

It is interesting that Erzya – was an artistic pseudonym. It identified the artist as the representative of one of the numerous ethnic groups ("Ersya") among Mordovian nationality.

The spiritual connection with this ancient Mordovian ethnos became one of the strongest sources of inspiration for the artist. Being the experimental sculptor, Stepan Erzya used various materials in his works – plaster, marble, concrete, cement, and cast iron. In the early twenties, he was carried away by wood sculpture, giving preference to rare subtropical species, such as quebracho, agarrobo, urunday. The original drawing of wood and the richest palette of shades allowed the master to embody the most impudent plans, and a combination of different textures - the raw natural outgrowths with carefully ground surface, made his works extraordinary sensual and emotional. Stepan Erzya was endowed with bright identity and strong character. The lone artist, being ascetic in private life, he always was obsessed with creativity and the sculpture was its main love. He travelled all over the world, lived in Europe, in Asia and in Latin America. Had been living for nearly a quarter of the century in Argentina, remaining the citizen of the USSR, and returned home only in 1950.

Despite his age - the artist was already seventy years old; he continued to work hard in his Moscow workshop. Being torn off the Motherland for a long time, he was eager to show his creations to the new Soviet spectator. "I want to show as an Artist to people, the result of my 25 years' work" - he wrote.

The collection of his works - 180 sculptures from wood, plaster, bronze and marble, a gross weight of 175 tons was delivered to the Soviet Union in 1951. His personal exhibition was held in Salon on Kuznetski Bridge in 1954. It turned out to be landmark event in Moscow cultural life.

The sculptor was the inexhaustible toiler, called sometimes "the Russian Rodin". He died at work in his studio in December 1959.

Interesting facts from Stepan Erzya biography are in our section Authors:

And his remarkable works from our Collection are in the Thematic Album:

Photo gallery