(E-E) Ev.g.e.n.i.j ..K.o.z.l.o.     Berlin                                                  


      (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov: Leningrad 80s • No.115 >>

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection • Harvard University

USA-CCCP. Points of Contact.
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov – Catherine Mannick
Correspondence 1979 – 1990

Letter M (December 1986)A Taste for Colours

Letter M, dated 25 December 1986, is Kozlov’s answer to Catherine Mannick’s first letter after her October visit (Letter 36, probably written at the end of November 1986), and it is also his fifth from 1986. Thus, in terms of Kozlov’s letters to Mannick that have been preserved, the year 1986 is particularly prolific, since on average, all other years come with a single letter or document.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter M to Catherine Mannick, 25 December 1986, envelope, stamped 24 January 1987 The address of the sender was in part digitally removed to protect privacy.  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter M to Catherine Mannick, 25 December 1986, envelope, stamped 24 January 1987
The address of the sender was in part digitally removed to protect privacy.

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University



Letter M is actually one of Kozlov’s letters of which the envelope has also been preserved. We therefore know that it was sent in one of the standard air mail envelopes sold at local post-offices: it carries, below the imprint АВИА / PAR AVION, a stylish image of an airplane flying up to the sky. The envelope is just large enough to insert two double art postcards that Kozlov chose for his text, displaying reproductions of Matisse’s paintings from the Pushkin Museum – “Still Life with Goldfish” (1911) from the Sergey Shchukin Collection and “Fruit and Bronze” (1909/1910) from the Ivan Morozov Collection, respectively.[1]

Kozlov writes that he hasn’t left home for a week because of a fever and a cough. His illness might have been the reason why, this time, he didn’t create his own “art postcards” for his friend. Instead, he selected from what was available to him in his small collection of art postcards.[2] In his letter, nothing explains why exactly he chose Matisse, but when asked he said that he enjoys the bright colours of these paintings: “The way Matisse combines colour and form reminds me of the visual effect produced by some precious tapestry. I wanted to send something that creates a positive feeling, something that lifts up your spirits in a special way.”

Kozlov’s own art had a different impact on his friend. In Letter 36 from the end of 1986, Mannick tells him how her impressions of her October visit came back to life when she looked at his pictures from the previous letter (Letter L):

    When I saw these photographs, I immediately felt that I was in Leningrad again with you under those amazing Halloween conditions of our last meeting. It's so important to me to hold and preserve these memories and feelings.[…] This part, this “Russian part” if you can call it that, is so dear and important to me. I must concentrate my attention on it in order not to lose it here in practical business-like America. When I went to work after returning, I experienced such a big shock – am I truly wearing this business suit, working in this office, and spending my days this way? I always receive such perspectives when I’m abroad, in particular in Russia. But this time, the feeling of alienation hasn't passed yet.

Her visit made Mannick decide “once again to drop law and go to graduate school in Russian history and literature“. In his answer, Kozlov thanks her for the “real news from the street” (настоящие вести с улицы) and fully supports her decision. In fact, he also experiences a new state of being, but unlike that of his friend, it doesn’t call to action. Rather, he gives himself over to colourful, compellingly realistic dreams.

    I listen to Christmas radio programmes and I dream fantastic dreams all the time, being either in the 25th century or in the 30th century or on the earth or not on the earth. Their style is reminiscent of the British film “BRASIL” [3], perhaps you watched it, only that it’s even more interesting because to me everything is real. I myself am living in this hot world (probably because of a high temperature), and I don't want to leave it at all and forget all these events and colours, this life, this new state of being. (pp 1/2)

Apparently, despite being stuck at home, Kozlov was feeling quite entertained and even acquired a taste for his fever. It might have lasted for some time. In a postscript signed “I’m waiting for you. Zhenya.” Kozlov adds that he is now feeling a little better. The postscript has been dated 28 and then corrected to 18. Considering that the letter was written on 25 December, this is quite odd – unless it took Kozlov another three weeks to recover and the date refers to 18 January 1987. Since the envelope was stamped 24 January 1987, this would make sense.

It remains an enigma how Kozlov knew of the movie “Brazil”, Terry Gilliam’s legendary “sci-fi dystopian dark comedy film” (Wikipedia) from 1985. The film was released in many countries, although not in the Soviet Union. But he must have watched it to compare it to his vivid dreams. It might have been screened at Leningrad’s Spartak cinema, which, at that time, was operated by the state film archive Gosfilmfond. The cinema, located in the former Lutheran St. Anne's Church (Annenkirche), presented western art-house movies with one or two screenings [4]

The source of the “Christmas radio programmes” Kozlov indulged in also remains somewhat diffuse. In the Soviet Union, which was officially an atheist state (although to a lesser degree an atheist society), New Year had taken over the function of Christmas as a main holiday and absorbed its secular customs – a lavishly decorated fir tree, an opulent meal and many presents. Instead, orthodox Christmas, shifted to 7 January in 1923, had become an ordinary working day.

Sending his friend Christmas and New Year wishes, Kozlov demonstrated that he valued both, with Christmas being his favourite holiday (мой любимый праздник).

    It's like a fairy tale in life, isn't it? At some moments of this time, I feel harmony, happiness and hope.

Mentioning Christmas broadcasts, Kozlov must have referred to one of the popular western radio stations that played the latest international hits – BBC, the Voice of America or Radio Luxemburg – and probably offered special Christmas programmes with Christmas pop songs. They were broadcast on shortwave frequencies, and although the KGB regularly jammed its signals (less so in times of detente), they had a huge Soviet audience, including party members.[5] Kozlov was a regular listener, and, like many others, still remembers Seva Novgorodsev’s fabulous BBC music programmes.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov in his studio and flat “Galaxy Gallery”, Peterhof (Petrodvorets), approx. 1978. In the background: an “Ural” radiola (radiogram) with the push buttom pressed to shortwave frequencies to tune in to one of the popular western radio stations – Voice of America, BBC or Radio Luxemburg. In the foreground Kozlov's dog Mars carrying an ashtray on his head. More about Mars see Letter D >>.  Photo: Viktor Labutov  E-E-archival number: E-E-pho-MI13

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov in his studio and flat “Galaxy Gallery”, Peterhof (Petrodvorets), approx. 1978.
In the background: an “Ural” radiola (radiogram) with the push buttom pressed to shortwave frequencies to tune in to one of the popular western radio stations – Voice of America, BBC or Radio Luxemburg.
In the foreground Kozlov's dog Mars carrying an ashtray on his head. More about Mars see Letter D >>.

Photo: Viktor Labutov

E-E-archival number: E-E-pho-MI13

In 2020, the artist commented on his drawing:

In 1977 or 1978, I dedicated a graphic work to my mother and father – a religious motif, set into a triangular composition consisting of Saint-Petersburg's churches and monuments, all of which had a deep impact on my vision of beauty when I was a child.
The size of the paper is not particularly large – it is 65 by 44.5 cm – but I had decided to fill all surfaces and contours with black ink dots. I applied these dots with a dip pen – one dot followed by one dip into the inkwell.
As the process was exceedingly time-consuming, I progressed very slowly, and although my little dog Mars patiently kept me company, I never finished this composition. There must be millions of atomic-sized dots in it!
I'm still in unbelieving amazement when I look at the perfection of figures and shapes.



His parents had bought an “Ural” radiola, a tube radio with a four speeds turntable built into the top of the cabinet, first produced in 1963 by the Sarapoul Orjonikidze Radio Works. The illuminated station scale offered a large number of city names, mostly cities from the Soviet Union (Omsk, Odessa, Novosibirsk, Moscow, Tallinn, Tashkent…)  and “eastern block” countries (Warsaw,  Budapest, Prague…), but also more exotic ones like Paris, Athens, Rome, Brussels, and Peking.[6]

The large and heavy radiogram stood near his desk so that when drawing or writing, he could easily press the push buttons to change the wavelength or turn the control knob to tune into a station. It was a bit like an imaginary travel, especially when trying to find one of the “enemy voices”, as the western radio stations were called.[7]

At the end of his letter, the artist mentions two current exhibitions that included his works, one in Moscow and another one in Leningrad:

    At the beginning of this month, I participated in two exhibitions. One was held in Moscow, in the main exhibition hall. But I couldn't be there, although, according to what I was told, everything went very well. Another one opened in Leningrad and is still going on now — I will inform you in detail after my recovery. (pp. 5/6)

The Leningrad exhibition could not be identified, but the Moscow exhibition is listed in Ksenia Novikova’s “Chronicle” of New Artists events, published in the 2012 New Artists catalogue: “The Laboratory – Young Artists from Leningrad”. It opened on 4 December 1986 as part of the cultural programme of the 17th exhibition of works by young artists.[8]  Because the Leningrad and Moscow non-conformist (“unofficial”) art-scenes existed separately from each other, at least to a large degree,[9] it was important to demonstrate that the New Artists were a powerful movement. Thus, the New Artists’ first Moscow group exhibition presented a “classical” line-up with eight artists: Sergei “Afrika” Bugaev, Vladislav Gutsevich, Oleg Kotelnikov, Evgenij Kozlov, Timur Novikov, Inal Savchenkov, Vadim Ovchinnikov, and Ivan Sotnikov. Unfortunately, there seems to be no visual documentation that could show what exactly was presented.

What Kozlov called “the main exhibition hall” were the Kuznetsky Most premises of the Moscow Union of Artists, the state organisation for artists officially recognised as professionals.[10] At the same time, the premises of its Leningrad counterpart, the Leningrad Union of Artists, remained closed to “unofficial” art groups like the New Artists. The group’s struggle to be recognised in their hometown continued until April 1988, when the first exhibition carrying the group’s name was opened at the Sverdlov House of Culture more >>.

Concerning the lack of Kozlov’s own art in his New Year letter: there is nevertheless a “real” 1987 New Year’s present to Catherine Mannick – his drawing “Women on the Sandy Beach” from the 1983 “Gulf of Finland” series, a delicate study of two relaxing women (see also Letter F). Created in a 29.5 x 41.5 cm format, it was too large to be sent in a letter, and Kozlov must have found someone to act as a courier.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Женщины на песке / Women on a Sandy Beach. 41.5 x 29.5 cm, wax crayon and lithographic crayon on paper, 1983. From the "Gulf of Finland” series more >> / more >>.  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University  E-E archival number E-E-183055-opc

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Женщины на песке / Women on a Sandy Beach.
41.5 x 29.5 cm, wax crayon and lithographic crayon on paper, 1983. From the "Gulf of Finland” series more >> / more >>.

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

E-E archival number E-E-183055-opc

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Note to Catherine Mannick related to the drawing “Women on the Sandy Beach”, the artist's 1987 NewYear present. Text: Катя! С Новым годом! 1987! Полный Салют! Евгений Козлов 1983. Женищины на песке. 41,5 x 29,5. Восковой мел, литографиский карандаш. Katya! Happy New Year! Full Salute! Evgenij Kozlov 1983. Women on the Sandy Beach. 41.5 x 29.5 cm. Wax crayon, lithographic crayon.  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Note to Catherine Mannick related to the drawing “Women on the Sandy Beach”, the artist's 1987 NewYear present. Text:
Катя! С Новым годом! 1987! Полный Салют!
Евгений Козлов 1983. Женищины на песке. 41,5 x 29,5. Восковой мел, литографиский карандаш.
Katya! Happy New Year! Full Salute!
Evgenij Kozlov 1983. Women on the Sandy Beach. 41.5 x 29.5 cm. Wax crayon, lithographic crayon.

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University



Hannelore Fobo, 13 August 2023



[1] The postcards do not reveal the provenance of these important works. In 1918, both the Shchukin and the Morozov collections, with outstanding works by Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso and many others, were nationalised and laid the foundation of a new Moscow museum – the State Museum of Modern Western Art / Государственный музей нового западного искусства (ГМНЗИ), which existed from 1923 to 1948. When the museum was closed, part of the exhibits was turned over to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, while the other part went to Leningrad to the Hermitage. In recent years, both museums started publicising these facts External link >>.

Like many of his Leningrad fellow artists, Kozlov was well acquainted with the “Hermitage” part of the paintings, and whenever he visited the museum, he went straight up to the illustrious “third floor”, where they were exhibited. In his diary from 1980, page 2-08, he mentions Matisse’s painting “The Red Room (Harmony in Red)” more >>.

[2] Kozlov occasionally bought art postcards at the House of Books (see Letter L) or at the Iskusstvo (Art) store, both principal sources for acquiring books on art. They also offered a wide selection of art-related items and souvenirs since, being located on Nevsky prospekt, they served a foreign clientele, too. However, it is also possible that he bought the Matisse cards directly at the Pushkin Museum, which he visited while in Moscow (see Letter F more>>).

[3] BRASIL is written in English. The correct spelling is Brazil.

[4]  See also note to E-E Kozlov’s Diary I, frontispice, about the “Cinematography” cinema at Leningrad’s Kirov Cultural House more >>

[5]  See Petr Kamenchenko’s article in lenta.ru «Мы чувствовали себя в тылу врага» “We felt like being behind enemy lines”, 17 February 2022. External link >>

[6]  Pictures of the Ural radial are available here External link >>

[7] Petr Kamenchenko, ibid. «В народе их окрестили «вражьими голосами». “They were popularly dubbed ‘enemy voices’.”

[8] The New Artists. Edited by Ekaterina Andreeva and Nelly Podgorskaya. Moscow: Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2012, p. 275

[9] Pop Mekhanika’s performances were an exception insofar, as quite often, some Muscovites joined their Leningrad colleagues on stage, for instance fashion designer Garik Assa (Oleg Kolomeychuk), who shuttled between Leningrad and Moscow more >>; see also Letter I >>.  

[10] As a rule, applying for membership required a diploma of a higher art institution. Not only did most New Artists lack such formal formal qualifications, but they also considered themselves as a vanguard of the new times, thereby distinguishing themselves from union members. The latter, however, enjoyed a number of privileges such as the allotment of a studio, commissions for artworks in public and non-public spaces, and access to working material.

 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter M to Catherine Mannick, 25 December 1986, envelope, stamped 24 January 1987 The address of the sender was in part digitally removed to protect privacy.  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter M to Catherine Mannick, 25 December 1986, envelope, stamped 24 January 1987
The address of the sender was in part digitally removed to protect privacy.

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University




 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter M to Catherine Mannick, 25 December 1986, pp. 1 and 2, double postcard (inside)  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter M to Catherine Mannick, 25 December 1986, pp. 1 and 2, double postcard (inside)

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

Page 1

25/12/86 г.

Дорогая моя Катя!

Большое спасибо за письмо и фотографии. Я был так рад получить их в эти праздничные дни. Для меня это сейчас настоящие вести с улицы. Уже неделю не могу выходить из дома, у нас такая холодная зима наступила, что я, конечно, успел простудиться и сильно заболел — температура, кашель. Даже не знаю успею ли выздороветь к 31, хотя еще осталось несколько дней. Слушаю Рождественские радиопрограммы и все время вижу во сне фантастические сны — то-ли 25 то-ли 30 век, то-ли на земле,

Page 2

то-ли нет. Похоже по стилю на английский фильм „BRASIL“, если ты видела, только еще более интересно, т.к. все происходит для меня реально. И я сам живу в том своем горячем (наверное от высокой t°) мире, и совсем не хочу уходить из него и забывать все события, краски, эту жизнь, это новое состояние.

Катя, пожалуйста, не обижайся, что получишь мое письмо с поздравлением позднее, чем нужно, но я и сам не знаю, когда смогу выйти на улицу и послать его. Но я уже сейчас поздравляю тебя с

Рождеством и Новым Годом

И желаю тебе всего самого




(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter M to Catherine Mannick from 25 December 1986, page 3 (left) and reproduction of “Still Life with Goldfish” by Matisse (1911). Reverse and front page of double postcard by Aurora Publishers, Leningrad, 1977  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter M to Catherine Mannick from 25 December 1986, page 3 (left) and reproduction of “Still Life with Goldfish” by Matisse (1911). Reverse and front page of double postcard by Aurora Publishers, Leningrad, 1977

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

Page 3

прекрасного и радостного, всего, что ты желаешь сама, и больших перемен в твоей жизни, хочу что-то делать для этого, для тебя. Счастья Тебе в будущем году! Люблю, думаю о тебе! Мне было так радостно и неожиданно узнать, что ты решилась оставить работу в бюро и поступить в аспирантуру.

Здорово, полная АССА!!!

Стоит пробовать!!! Я не мог знать, что ты чувствовала




 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter M to Catherine Mannick, 25 December 1986, pp. 4 and 5, double postcard (inside)  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter M to Catherine Mannick, 25 December 1986, pp. 4 and 5, double postcard (inside)

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

Page 4

каждую минуту, когда работала там (и, Наверное, это самое главное для тебя), но знаю, что такая работа совсем не нравилась тебе. Как ты говоришь, ты будешь делать то, что „ты хочешь, а не то что хотят другие, чтобы ты хотела“. Если в чем-то ты будешь более решительной, как сейчас, то действительно сделаешь, что сама хочешь — и это правильно. И если с этим решением уже чувствуешь конец мучений и облегчение, то я так рад за тебя, а твой шаг. Мне это больше нравится, чем работа в бизнесе. И еще, в этой новой перспективе, я вижу более интересную работу для тебя. Она, наверняка, сильнее

Page 5

подержит душу и даст больше удовлетворение тебе, чем право. В конечном счете, только твое спокойствие по отношении ко всему в жизни, твое собственная радость в отношениях с семьей и друзьям даст счастье и любовь всем. И я желаю тебе этого от всего сердца!

Бес спора, Рождество — мой любимый праздник. Это как сказка в жизни, не правда ли? В иные минуты этого времени чувствую гармонию, счастье и надежды.

В начале это месяца участвовала на двух выставках. Одна проходила в Москве, в главном выставочном зале. Но я не мог там присутствовать,




 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter M to Catherine Mannick from 25 December 1986, page 6 (left) and reproduction of “Fruit and Bronze” by Henry Matisse (1909/1910). Reverse and front page of double postcard by Aurora Publishers, Leningrad, 1977. The postscript has been dated 28 and then corrected to 18.  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter M to Catherine Mannick from 25 December 1986, page 6 (left) and reproduction of “Fruit and Bronze” by Henry Matisse (1909/1910). Reverse and front page of double postcard by Aurora Publishers, Leningrad, 1977.
The postscript has been dated 28 and then corrected to 18.

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

Page 6

хотя, по рассказам, все прошло отлично. Другая открылась в Ленинграде и еще продолжается сейчас —  подробно сообщу после выздоровления.

Если будет возможность, мне нужна еще одна фотография Юфо — ему в подарок. Та, что ты прислала в прошлом письме, где он стоит с страшным лицом около своей картины.

Передавай мои приветы и поздравления своей семье, Марине, Давиду и Юре (его кассету слушаю с удовольствием, спасибо ему) . Большое спасибо за book.

До свидания. Целую и обнимаю, твой Женя.

P.S. Сегодня 28 18. И я чувствую себя немножко лучше. Хочу, чтобы у теня все было хорошо!

Жду тебя. Женя.




USA-CCCP. Points of Contact.
Part 1: Introduction
Synopsis • Preliminary Remarks
1. From Leningrad to Boston and Back
2. Let’s Talk About Art. New Wave, New Artists, and B(L)ack art
3. Perestroika Emissaries
4. The End of Censorship
5. “It Seems I Need a Manager.” The Impact of Getting Popular
6. Leningrad Artists and Musicians in E-E Kozlov's Pictures
— The River of Forgetfulness, 1988 —
Part 2: Letters
Letter A (1979) – Halloween
Letter B (1980) – To be at Peace with Yourself
Letter C (1980) – Harlequin
Letter D (1982) – The Sea and the Countryside
Letter E (1983) – Saigon
Letter F (1983) – Moscow
Letter G (1984) – New Wave
Letter H (1985) – New Composers
Letter I (1986) – Happy New Year at the Leningrad Rock Club
Letter J (1986) – CCCP-USA
Letter K (1986) – The Price of Art
Letter L (1986) – B (L)ack art • PoPs from the USSSR
Letter M (1986) – A Taste for Colours
Letter N (1987) – Part 1: Changes and Challenges
Letter N (1987) – Part 2: ASSA
Letter O (1988) – Joanna Stingray's Wedding
Letter P (1989) – Perestroika Hot News
Letter Q (1989) – Russkoee Polee • The Russian Field
Letter R (1990) – New Classicals
Epilogue: USA-CCCP. Points of Contact (Forthcoming)

see also
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov, Catherine Mannick, and Hannelore Fobo papers, 1979-2022 (inclusive)
Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection Harvard University >>

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Published 15 August 2023
Last updated 12 June 2024