Gulag Art

“Nikolai Getman, who produced a unique record of life in Stalin’s forced-labor camps, died last month at his home in Orel, Russia.

Born in 1917, he was by profession a painter, though his studies at the Kharkov Art College were cut short when he was drafted into the Red Army. After serving in World War II, he was arrested in 1946 and spent nearly eight years in the Gulag, much of it in one of the worst zones–Kolyma. Following his release in 1953, he was eventually reintegrated into Soviet artistic circles, becoming a member of the Artists’ Union. But alongside his official duties he secretly painted–and much later succeeded in sending to the West–a number of paintings, mainly oil on canvas, based on his deep-set, unforgettable camp memories. His collection is now housed by the Jamestown Foundation in Washington.”

More here from the Wall Street Journal.