In addition, the collection contains, in the words of the Guerra, a brilliant master of the Russian language, a few "chepushinok" - a unique collection of the first Russian illustrated cards, a collection of pre-revolutionary bottles, mostly beer, and before the Revolution the chemists bubbles with recipes and a collection of Russian podduzhnyh bells ...
"Prohlazhdayas," Mr. Guerra has kindly accepted the invitation "WP" to answer questions from our readers and journalists.
- The first question, they say, arises: How, Mr. Guerra, you are 100 percent French, born and raised on the Cote d'Azur, "came to such a life," as came into the world of Russian emigration?
- Indeed, in the little child that has promised me a future. But once in our house knocked on the woman, who asked my mother, a teacher, in addition enjoy a workout with her child. Instead, the visitor who said she had no money, offered to teach the Russian language one of the sons of Mrs. Guerra. The choice fell on me, what I am, however, does not regret. Then life pushed me to the other representatives of the Russian emigration, I loved them, and language, and continued their education in Paris at the Sorbonne. Posted on own initiative thesis of Boris Zaitsev, phoned him, asked for a meeting and not only saw the living classic of Russian literature, and received from him a proposal to work literary secretary. So I went in a different world of Russian emigration - Paris, intellectual. I lived then in a Paris suburb of Meudon, where he regularly collect Russian writers, artists, poets. These meetings were called "medonskih evenings" on them in some detail Irina Odoevtseva wrote in his memoirs "On the banks of the Seine." By the way, I have survived all the tapes of those wonderful evenings, often degenerating into just a party with jokes, songs, but be sure - with the reading of new poems, stories and discussion.
At the same time began to form my collection, which gave many of the artists donated their works. I think they saw in me, a young Frenchman who fell in love with Russian art, a man who may live to the time when the art will be in demand in Russia. And I am happy that the time has come.
- How do you now intend to dispose of all these values? Will they publicly accessible?
- Collection is already available. After 1991, in my house, or rather, in my house visited by more than a thousand representatives of Russia's intellectuals - artists, poets, writers and museum professionals. Very proud that I was visited by Dmitry Likhachev, who, in particular, has written an introductory article to the directory of my exhibition in the Tretyakov Gallery in 1995.
But this, of course, is not enough. Yes, and private housing are simply unable to accommodate all comers. I am ready to dialogue. I think it worthwhile to publish some guide to the collection, so that people at least know what it is. Further, the issue would be the creation on the basis of my collection center of Russian emigre art in Paris, where professionals, amateurs and just might work with a unique archive. But here we must bear in mind one simple thing: in itself such a center will not arise, the French authorities had no special interest to the fact that, though created in their territory, but belongs to a different culture. And do not bother me about it. Hence, the initiative for the Russians. If it is high enough to raise the issue, then the French partners, I am sure will show interest and sympathy. The problem here is not financial, but political will.
- But even when it is available to process this vast array requires considerable effort. You, as far as we know, not very much like to admit to their archives of strangers.
- Indeed, it is necessary to hold a serious systematize the collection. I - a conservative man, but has been bought for this purpose computer on stage - a scanner. But time is regularly engaged in this work is desperately short. I continued to teach, and in addition, the collection - a living organism, it is constantly replenished. We Oleshi is the book "Not a day without a line," and I am acting on the principle of "a day without discovery."
As for the assistants, I do not refuse their services. However, the case be complicated, it is not for amateurs and enthusiasts, and professionals. If, say, it is decided to publish the catalog, of course, I pick up a small team for a detailed description of the collection. Yes, and I'm a very energetic, you might say, obsessed.
- It's no secret that the fate of your collection of concern to many in our country. Opinions differ. Some believe that it should in one form or another to stay in Paris, others say that it all belongs to Russia.
- It's true. I was recently in St. Petersburg, where a presentation of my book, "They have taken with them Russia" - a collection of articles, essays, memoirs. And then director of Russia's big library asked me: "And when you shall give us all things?" On the question of such discretion guest I will not speak. In some confusion, I said to him: first sort out their deposits, all that is gathering dust, and then - let's see. On a cool head I would say this: each of us wants to leave his mark on this earth. I am not an artist and writer. Therefore, understand perfectly well that would be ideal to make in life, not fish or cut bait, catalog or guide to the collection.
But even if this plan is not realized, I'm not going to sit on the values of the dog in the manger. I want to start with the publication of Russian emigre poetry. I have a huge collection - a few thousand books, 80 percent of them with inscriptions. There Collected Poems by Nabokov, Ivanov, Sergey Makovsky, Georgi Ivanov, Odoevtsevoy ... Often the same book I have 5-10 copies. Not because I'm a maniac, no. The matter in the inscriptions on which you can set the social circle of poets and writers, their relationships. Would be, sure, a very interesting book.
But just ask: why and for whom such a catalog? Let us not deceive ourselves. In France, and indeed in the West are very few people interested. Maybe there is a 100-150 American, Japanese, German, French researchers. I can, of course, he released a publication with this edition. But first, I think that issue itself is not very ethical. And most importantly, I believe that this is the case of Russia, we are talking about her culture. You now goes a lot of interesting books. He went into the lobby of your editorial on the tray and saw a book by Boris Poplavskiy, of which 15 years ago no one here knew, and if anyone knew, he could not speak aloud.
So, someone is needed. So I want to be issued a catalog of the manuscript department or department of the book collection. I would say that it is my duty to the great writers, many of which I have found and he knew personally.
At that light no one will. I collected all this not for France and not for Soviet Russia. Now everything is easier, and thank God, I do sincerely happy. But I understood the value of the art 30 years ago, when nobody was interested in them, neither here nor there. I felt queer when I say that such a vast country like Russia, can not sooner or later is not interested in their cultural heritage, this layer of culture, which proved to be abroad. Now is it time? See. I'm still at that light is not going to, although we are all in God's hands, as they say in Russian. The only thing I have done - took action to disperse the collection is not, because it is valuable as a whole. And the rest, as I have said, depends largely on Russia.
- Does France not interested in the creativity of people whom she sheltered in?
- You know, the French intelligentsia was and remains left. With the mood. She believes that Russia has summed it, because it failed to implement a left-wing ideas. Here is one example. To the 300 anniversary of St. Petersburg I wanted to do in Paris, in Montmartre, an exhibition of "The Great Petersburgians in exile. Spend on this project a lot of time and effort. Some time later the curator of the museum in Montmartre told me that he does not want to figured the word "immigration" and offered to call the exhibition "Russian artists from 1910 to 1960. He had not known what Russian art, who are Goncharova or Larionov, just wanted to make a career. I refused to participate in the exposition. And what happened? There, for example, exhibited works Konchalovsky, who in Paris, it was passing through. That is, wanted to present everything, so that some Russian artists were in Paris, and why and how, to clarify it is not necessary.
Another example. In 1995, I organized the exhibition in the Senate. Some people are warped. Somov? Dobuzhinsky? Benoit? It's all day yesterday, such things retro, we need the Soviet avant-garde - Rodchenko, and others. Yes, and who they are, all these "miriskussniki? Nobody expelled, they themselves have left Russia ...
In other words, everything connected with the Russian emigration in France has a bad aftertaste. One time, when Russia began emigrant boom, and appeared on the shelves of books Georgi Ivanov, Khodasevich Gazdanov, interest seems to arise, but dismissed it as extremely fashion. "Fashion", however, kept for 15 years. Frankly, I did not expect such a revenge.
- Who do you take revenge?
- First of all, it is the revenge of the Russian writers, poets, artists, who were in exile and were written off that the Soviets that the Western left-wing intellectuals in the "garbage of history."
Although, of course, this is my revenge. You have to understand that in the same French Slavic Studies was, and remains largely in the hands of the Communist Party. So my classes are not very welcome. Things went so far that at one time I failed in the competition for private-docent for the bad Russian language and wrong accent. While the figures themselves are not able to connect two words in Russian.
And little has changed. Last denunciation from colleagues at me, purely Soviet-style, came in last April. But as France - the rule of law, I learned about this, moreover, they showed me a copy. It says that Guerra is engaged in a culture that does not exist. That is, immigrants - not a real Russian literature, but Guerra - chudik and frivolous type.
- Demonstrate whether Russia's power, or any other public institutions interested in your collection after the 91-year? Does the question of assistance to your collecting?
- In general, no. Some contacts are in this visit I met with several high ranking officials. While all at the level of conversation, which I hope, when something will go into action. I think prevents psychology. In Russia, much has changed, but people change more difficult and longer. Someone treats me with jealousy, someone - with envy, someone, as I said, believes that it all belongs to Russia ...
- What do you see the ideal scheme of relations with Russia?
- I have already said: the creation of a Paris-based collections research center on the heritage of Russian culture abroad. That would be the highest form of service to Russia.
- Posted on whether any of your files?
- Something, but a small part of them. Not because I'm the king Koschey that was over with gold languishes. Just for any publication takes time. To this was at a professional level, every letter or document to a few days. I am not able to master it all. You know, when I arrive in Russia's provinces, I am amazed that in a small museum of 10 officers guarding the 20 paintings. How would they be useful for me for a great, not ashamed loud words, the preservation of the art of Russian emigration. For example, I have all the pre-revolutionary archives Balmont - there are thousands and thousands of letters. Can you imagine what labor to process and publish them?
I am currently preparing the publication of two letters to Tsvetaeva in Petersburg magazine. This month's work - a luxury that I can not always afford. That's why need a center.
- In the Soviet era in our country could collect icons in the best case - the brand. Collector professionals in general, was not. We got some money and people who are trying to collect some of the collection. What qualities can be a collector with a capital letter?
- I do not quite agree. In the Soviet Union were collectors, but in varying degrees, they were associated with bodies. I have not talked with them, because they were under the cap. And some people for their gathering had to sit out for several years.
Now back to the main. I do not consider myself just a collector. Fate so ordered that I entered the world of the Russian emigration of more than 35 years ago. And I realized that my destiny - at least something to keep out of this world for future generations. I realized that before me were a unique people. Here Yuri Annenkov, by illustrations of Blok's "Twelve", and in Paris at him no one is paying attention - well, some old man. So I gathered all with some anger. This was the reaction and the indifference of the French, and an aggressive rejection of these artists the Soviet Union, where I was "unwelcome. I'm luck to all of you will engage in this art and will collect that even in Paris, many Russian emigres thrown in the trash. And keep it all. That's why I always emphasize that I am - not a collector, and collector. Excuse my indiscretion, edakii Ivan Kalita. They took with them to Russia, but I like the keeper of the Russia.
- Collectors usually do not want fame - the more publicity, the less security.
- It depends on the purpose of the collection. As for me, no diamonds, gold or silver. Thus, any books, papers, which in France very few people need. Now if I collected the Impressionists ... People usually wonder why I have two houses on one street, and the fact that in these houses treasures, they do not understand. And thank God! The works, which previously cost $ 100 today in London or New York, sold for 10 thousand dollars. I am from this, as you say, not cold and not hot, because I never sell. I repeat: I do not profitable investments and the Russia-gatherers who lived emigrants who left from it.
- Where did you get such a good knowledge of modern Russian language?
- Thanks for the compliment. Until 1992, my language was a little different, the language of Chekhov. Then I began to go here often. And since 1992, held in your country, a total of about three years. And, above all the pleasure that I get here - from the language of communication with ordinary people. And that I, as you now say, kicks, and trudge. Russian language - my passion.
- Is it true that you are erotic letters Bunin?
- I would not call them so. They say so, playful. Bunin was not shy in expressions. Is there and drawings by his hand. Not very convenient to publicly quoted what he wrote Ivan, but you probably guessed. The master can afford it.
There is his letter to the postwar period, when Paris came Konstantin Simonov, to convince Bunin return to the USSR. There Ivan exclusively mat-perematom expressed about Stalin and Soviet authorities.
- What, in your opinion, a reasonable period, after which you can publish the private correspondence of the great?
- I think, at least 30 years. Because even after the death of the author are people of whom may be involved in the correspondence. In addition, we should pity the children, relatives. I have an unpublished love letters from Nabokov, but the son is still alive, how can they make public?
- Who can be the owner of the archive? Only a person who buys it? Do it any right to the relatives, the state?
- Take the same letter Nabokov to his mistress. I chased them for 20 years. And one day caught a Frenchman, who knew the woman, who had these letters. After the death of Nabokov's ladies, she took possession of them. I knew this woman, but we were not very good relations. Then I put on my hat, shaved his beard and went to her with the Frenchman. The letters I got a solid money, although today they are much more expensive. And I think that they are not just my property. I saved them, because they can spray, if this woman has sold several buyers.
About two years ago bought all the originals of illustrations by Alexander Benois for the book "Sinner", Henri de Regnier, who did not come out in the French publishing house. These were two folders, buying that, I sat on a potato. But I am very pleased acquisition, because, again, did not give this work dissipated.
And with this state? This is mine, this is private property, which the West, it must be admitted, is protected by very strict.
- Are there many sensations in your collection?
- A - of letters Nabokov, which can be found in the embryo, many of his works - I have already said. There are, of course, and others. Handwritten book Remizov dedicated Somov. A huge archive of Bunin's writing Zaitseva. From unpublished - mostly letters. Almost all published manuscripts, but there can find discrepancies, options, notes in the margins. This is material for historians and academic publications.
- What a sad story ended with the loss of 22 paintings from your exhibition in the Tretyakov Gallery in 1995?
- I do not want to talk about it, but if you ask me ... Nothing has not ended. The Ministry of Culture had an obligation to ensure the safety of all exhibits, but not guaranteed. So little of what brought no apology, even spread the rumor that I myself have a stole these works. Precipitate remained unpleasant, but life goes forward, will not be about sad. The Ministry of Culture, I have maintained contacts, relations in general, normal. If missing pictures somewhere surfaced, I finally most of them would give.
I have a dream - to arrange a major exhibition on the theme "Russian emigre artists, and the book. I'm working on it for several years. I can offer 66 artists, from 350 to 400 books and the same number of original illustrations. Make this exhibition, of course, would have to be in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But I can not decide, because there is no guarantee that all bring back.
- You know the Russian language and very good feel to Russia, you know her past, including Soviet. According to your feelings, how seriously changed the country? Is it ready psychologically to take today emigre art? There was a merger of the Russian "mainland" and "insular" culture, in the words of Dmitry Likhachev?
- To someone else's happiness and someone's unfortunately, the Soviet Union no longer exists. Today's Russia - is not the Soviet Union and tsarist Russia, but something else. Certainly, much has changed. The hardest thing to change the psychology of people. We must wait for the new generations, those who are now 20-25 years old and who already knows no Lenin, no Stalin.
As to the "mainland" and "insular" culture. I think in 15 years much has been done, so they were united. There is a Russian word "odvukon", this means a spare horse. So, post-Soviet, post-communist Russia has found a spare horse - all that was created over 70 years abroad. This process is not yet completed, but begun. For 15 years, issued not hundreds, but thousands of books, produced several tens of thousands of articles about Russian foreign culture. Today's Russia was, in general, at a height. I am not saying this to flatter you. But there is still a lot of discoveries. It is true that I winced, that the same people who persecuted emigrant culture, at once became her best friends. But it is not so bad - time-servers are everywhere.
You know without me, Russia - a country of extremes. Now, let's say, have become fashionable white generals, who at one time hung and shot. As a historian, I believe that this is positive. In the end, this part of your history. People finally realized that Denikin, Kolchak, Kutepov, Wrangel were neither monsters nor the monsters that they are the sons of this land.
It is noteworthy that the first in Russia "forgiven" the first wave of immigrants: it was all a long time - the Civil War and so on. Then, a few years later, there was interest in the second wave, that is, to those who considered a traitor to the motherland. It was already turning.
- A third wave is not included in the terms of your interests?
- Well, yes and no. I have not seen the birth of the first and second waves, can judge them only according to witnesses, memories. A third wave of emigrants "rolled up" to the West is already on my eyes. I went to their meetings, and I have initially appeared suspicious attitude. The fact that my "heroes" have left Russia with love for this country, with the hope that this hard times, Bolshevism will end. A third emigration often left with a hatred for their country. I do not blame her, but these people are much more fortunate than their predecessors. Their well-staged, gave the money home. A simple example. Representatives of the first wave never bought in France, housing, because they lived "on the suitcase, hoping that is about to return to Russia. They thought so before the war, and some - and after the war. And all the time remained refugees.
Bunin, Shmelev, Zaitseva France considered not concordant age of renegades as they neither understood nor accepted the October Revolution. The third wave of emigrants came to the West as heroes, settled here a long time, buying an apartment, got the post, they fed the various funds, the CIA, etc.
Of course, one can not generalize. Everything is much more complicated. Among them are decent people, I myself published in the "Continent" by Vladimir Maximov. I knew them all, many well-regarded, the other - neutral. And I am glad that they were lucky.
But all three waves of emigration could not understand each other and could not understand. In the mid-70's was an attempt to organize a meeting of the three emigration, and it ended in complete failure. "Docking" will not happen, because everyone was busy with his own problems. Is that the exception was my neighbor Platonovich Viktor Nekrasov, who spoke with the first wave, was interested in their lives.
According to head of the gallery " 'Eritazh" Christina Krasnyanskaya, "The main activity of our gallery is a work of brilliant, original and undervalued until recently in Russia, a galaxy of artists, the Russian diaspora." That such is not ignorant, names like Andre Lanskoy, Serge Sarsuns, Nicolas de Stael, Ivan Puni, Serge Poliakoff, Leopold Survage, George Pozhedaev, Konstantin Veschilov, and many others
Eugene (art dealer)