On 12th July Igor Golomshtok, well-known Russian British art historian, died at the London hospital. He was 88 years old.
Golomshtok was born in Tver. His father, engineer Naum Kojak, came from the family of Crimean Karaites. He was arrested in 1934, and his son was given the name of his mother. Igor graduated from the faculty of art history at the Moscow State University.
Golomshtok worked in restoration workshops and at the department of traveling exhibitions of the Ministry of Culture. Between 1955–1963 he also worked for the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts.
First book written by Golomstock was also the first Soviet book published on Pablo Picasso. He co-authored this monograph with Andrei Sinyavsky — a famous Russian dissident writer. Other Golomshtok’s works on Sezanne, his monograph “The Aesthetic Nature of Trends in Contemporary Wetern Art,” and the book on Bosch, were denied publication on ideological grounds and the author had to publish them overseas under a pseudonym.
The persecution of Golomstock was initiated not only because he stood by his friend Sinyavsky during the court trial, but also because he proclaimed independent approach towards art criticism. In 1965, he was brought to trial himself in connection with Daniel-Sinyavsky case, as he refused to testify against his friend. Golomshtok was sentenced to six months of forced labor.
Since 1972 Golomshtok has lived int he UK. He is known as author of books on totalitarian art, e.g. Unofficial Art from the Soviet Union and Totaliatarian Art. He was also known as researcher, translator, journalist. He was invited to speak at the BBC radio or radio “Svoboda” (Liberty). There he also launched his new book of memoirs “Occupation for an Old Policeman: Memoirs of a Pessimist”.
He was a legendary figure among Russian contemporary artists and art historians, the representative of the whole generation of the Soviet intelligentsia. He also taught at the University of Oxford and University of St. Andrew’s. He was also the one who introduced Russian unofficial art and its leading figures to the Western public.