Yefim Moiseevich Royak (Rayak)

The Asserters of new art in Vitebsk, 1922. Top row: Ivan Chervinko, Kazimir Malevich, Yefim royak, Anna Kagan, Nikolai Suetin, Lev Yudin, Eugene editorial. Bottom row: Michael Wexler, Vera Ermolaeva, Ilya Chashnik, Lazar Khidekel
We feel incredibly lucky to have acquired a small collection of artwork by esteemed artist Yefim Moiseevich Royak (Rayak). As a student of Chagall and Malevich, Royak's work carries a deep artistic lineage and great creative influence. 
Yefim Moisevich Royak (rayak):
Royak's early talent caught the attention of Chagall, who, upon seeing the young man's drawings adorning his family's stove, recognized his potential and extended an invitation for tutelage. Guided by Chagall and later advised by Yuri Moiseevich Pan, Royak's artistic prowess flourished. His entry into the Vitebsk School of Popular Art in 1919, recommended by Chagall himself, marked the beginning of a journey that would make him the youngest artist of the UNOVIS movement, a pioneering collective that defends new artistic expressions.

Transitioning from Vitebsk to Petrograd in the early 1920s, Royak further refined his art under the influence of Malevich, contributing to the avant-garde movement with his distinctive blend of suprematism and individual style. Exhibitions and recognitions followed, showcasing Royak's evolving style and his deepening commitment to artistic innovation.

Despite his success within the Soviet artistic establishment, Royak harbored a clandestine devotion to the avant-garde ideals of his youth, a sentiment known to few. This internal conflict colored his artistic journey, adding layers of complexity to his work and his personality.

Royak's post-war career saw him leave an indelible mark on Soviet design, contributing to iconic projects such as the Moscow subway stations and international exhibitions in Paris (1936) and in New York (1939), designing the subway station "Paveletskaya" and in collaboration with El Lissitzky, created a competitive textile factory project. However, his true passion lay in the silent pursuit of his artistic vision, manifested in collages and portraits that captured the essence of his time and his peers.

After his death in 1987, Royak's legacy lived on, although it was largely overlooked within Russia. It was not until posthumous retrospectives abroad and the efforts of David Simanovich, the husband of Royak's widow, who published his work in "the Chagall Collection", that his works contributed to the avant-garde movement and Soviet design. .

Today, Royak's works adorn the collections of prestigious institutions such as the Tretyakov Gallery and the Russian Museum, and serve as poignant reminders of an artist who, despite the limitations of his time, remained steadfast in his commitment to artistic exploration and innovation. His work has been exhibited in the exhibitions of artists from the Malevich circle. Through his art, echoes of a bygone era resonate, inviting viewers to delve deeper into the rich tapestry of 20th-century Russian art and culture.


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