Among the first Tashkent’s national artists of the 1930s, Khakim Rakhimov (1917 – 1943) took a special place due to his early formed independence of his art. His short career presents one of the most interesting pages in the art of Uzbekistan. After acquaintance with his works, we are looking at the same world but as if by the other eyes: it has become wider and more various – huge, quiet and a little sad. Subtle charm of especial poetry penetrates his works. Rakhimov’s poetry has no tranquility; this is poetic perception of the life – its struggle and troubles. The artist had left this world behind him for us, enriching it with own experience.
Original are art solutions in Kh.Rakhimov’s works. Elusive images and colour generalization are used so that nothing breaks external calmness. He was going from dark to light; multilayered painting is laying on a dense ground in violet, claret or brown colors. Rakhimov used a palette – knife. Each time removing a layer of the paint, he “polished” a surface, which then was worked with a wide brush, so reaching impression of the bottomless space strengthened by vital mobility of spiritualized environment. Such approach is characteristic for the works “Portrait of the boy”, “The Registan Square” and “Navoi at the seaside”. “Self – portrait” is speaking a lot about their – thoughtful concentration accents heavy soft features and clever eyes. The portrait “Poet Lutfi (1366 – 1465)” is close by its art solution and type. The leading voice in chorus of paints is given to warm ochre and the palette of white and green spots. Illumination is devoid of brightness, what prevents cold sounding to his canvas.
The painting manner of Rakhimov, striving to generalization initially caused his appeal to “completeness”, but “The Registan Square” and “Portrait of the boy”, inspired by a trip to Samarkand, opened valuable properties of the young artist’s progress from nature to plastic figurativeness.
The teenager in “Portrait of the boy” is included in the prospect of the square. Elusive contours of the ancient monument towering in a distance are disturbing. Organic connection between obscure face of the boy, his look concentrated on something far and contours of the city is revealed in the mysterious associative way. Meanwhile, we are getting to comprehend inexpressibly complicated relationship of artist’s creativity and centuries – old culture of the people.
Rakhimov was of rare musicality. Famous oriental classic and folk musicians consulted with him. His close midst – singers and musicians, composers and producers. Many times they invited him to the theatre of musical drama and followed his opinion. He was a perfect singer and knew many rare ancient songs. Often, when he walked from Sheikhantaur to Chilanzar where his house was, in the Chilanzar suburb where nobody could be seen because of the dense gardens, he was always loudly singing. Even when he came back late singing, the neighbours spoke: “Khakim is going, let’s listen”. Musical sense is present in the palette of his pictures. Rakhimov’s works exclude local colour, they have colour integrity and nobleness of color accords.
In the portrait “The girl at the grand piano”, music had become a subject and found embodiment. The child at the black grand piano on a background of pink curtains as if almost dissolves in the soft twilight. Achieving mood of poetry and charm of the melody, Rakhimov had solved a difficult art problem – he succeeded to transfer the contrast of elusive twilight illumination and a massive body of the black polished instrument, what perfectly proved the plastic superiority of his method. Foggy tones of grey, green and pink colours are enveiling the room and the girl with a bow of ribbon, balancing a massive silhouette of the grand piano and introducing the stirring note in the world of harmony.
The teachers from the Tashkent Art School, where Khakim Rakhimov studied in 1933 – 1938, often argued on advantages of the academic drawing, decorative effects of colour and methods of entering the image. The teachers changed each other but constant presence of their works at the exhibitions and detonate disputes created the atmosphere of permanent contacts between the galaxy of recognized artists and their followers. Pedagogical work of Bakhram Hamdami had great significance in the progress of young artists. Being among the artists behind A.Volkov’s generation, he became one of the leading teachers.
Hamdami’s advantage was that he gave his classes in the native language, cultivating in his students what he had accumulated for years of his own study and mature experience. B. Hamdami drew attention of the students to the art of Alexander Ivanov, Vasily Surikov and Valentine Serov. When together with a group of students Rakhimov was sent to Moscow and Leningrad for training and first saw the original works of Rembrandt he was insulted. Having returned to Tashkent, Khakim could tell only about the great Dutch. Later, many times he told to his family that he needed to visit Leningrad to buy paints but, in fact, he went there to look at Rembrandt again.
Khakim Rakhimov had a cousin, Latif Nasretdinov, with whom he lived next door and studied at the same teachers. The art of the brothers is of exclusive interest from the point of cooperation and fruitful struggle of contrasts. Each of the two gifted fellows had bright individuality. Latif apprehended lessons of Serov’s and Kurzin’s direction. Flexible, rich in colour painting and modeling of tangibly perceived form are his characteristic features. Differed in their approach to expressive means, they converged in searching for deep psychology of character and picture. Khakim had no another friend, with whom he could be so confidentially frank as with Latif. At home they permanently discussed on art. At classes, Rakhimov answered by jokes to all questions of classmates concerning painting technique, palette – khife and multilayer scumbling and so obtained reputation of a cheerful person.
Actually, he was much deeper, more serious than his classmates were in vision of the world, native street and even dust of centuries on house’s threshold. His works create impression that everything surrounding the artist perceived as completed composition, so naturally the scenes of the life entered a rectangular of the canvas. Figures are well balanced with general atmosphere of the work – mutual smooth breath. As if through the matted glass appears the street of Tashkent with typical pise – walled structures. The street is silent. The silence of eternal foundations and hot midday is reigning there.
Everything has been motionless: the old man, white like a dove – hawk, just sitting down to have a rest on the ground; a slow step of the boy in a stopframe; motionless of leaves on the trees. Whitish sun’s illumination softens a contrast between the shadow and sunny sides, pacifying the landscape in “Streets in Tashkent”. Meanwhile, silence and motionless of the frozen moment are deceptive. The rest, easy and elusive – this is just a part of the great world.
Actually, Kh. Rahimov’s creative life had lasted for four years – from 1937 till August, 1941 when he was called up for military service. He was killed at the World War II. The artist had left behind him about ten works, but value of the art of Khakim Rakhimov cannot be overestimated: he had extended the concept of figurativeness, national typology and enriched a palette with originality of painting. In a course of time, Khakim Rakhimov occupied a special place. He saw the world as disturbing and complicated, meanwhile searched for harmony in it. Vision of the native land had found deeply individual reflection in works of the young artist and excluded any imitation of his plastic solutions as it is impossible to recur the unique creative person.
Author: Rimma Eremyan