Columbia University in the City of New York

The Harriman Institute Presents

Anatoly Zverev (1931–1986)

Selections from the Kolodzei Art Foundation


The exhibition features artworks from the 1950s to the mid-1980s.


Monday–Friday, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM
October 28, 2021 through December 17, 2021

Closed November 2nd, 24th–26th


Harriman Institute Atrium
420 W 118th St, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10027

Visitor Information

Per current visitor guidelines, the exhibit is only open to Columbia University affiliates who are in compliance with the university’s health protocols and have a valid green pass.

No registration or tickets required.

Exhibit Preview

Join us on December 2nd at 6:30pm for a discussion with the exhibit’s curator, Natalia Kolodzei, and others. Learn More & Register >

Anatoly Zverev (1931–1986) was a legend in the Moscow art circles of the second half of the 20th century. His life and work became an illustration of the myth of the vagabond— “a genius capable of creating a masterpiece with a sweep of the hand…”

Born in Moscow in 1931, Zverev attended the Moscow School of Art and Industry from 1948 to 1950. A nonconformist in art and life, he was expelled from Art School 1905 after several months due to his “personal appearance.” He continued his artistic education by frequenting various studios and museums including the State Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. In the mid-1950s, Zverev developed his unique style of expressive drawing and rapid improvisation. He sometimes drew without looking at the paper, using a finger, cigarette butt or hunk of bread. Zverev rarely painted pure abstractions, tending to produce portraits, landscapes, and still-lifes retaining elements of the objective.

Zverev started gaining international recognition in 1957, when he won a gold medal at the international visual arts workshop held during the Sixth World Festival of Youth and Students. From 1959 to 1962, Zverev garnered more success and acclaim as he participated in apartment exhibitions and collaborated with George Costakis, a prominent collector of Russian Avant-Garde art. Though Zverev never traveled abroad, his debut solo show was held in 1965 at the Galerie Motte in Paris. In the Soviet Union, non-conformist artists had a difficult time finding studio space and art materials and exhibiting their work publicly. During his lifetime, Zverev only had one solo exhibition in the Soviet Union, which took place at Gorkom Grafikov (the Painting Section of the Moscow Joint Committee of Graphic Arts) in 1984. Nevertheless, he became a legendary figure.

Anatoly Zverev’s art has been showcased in many group and solo exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world, including posthumously at the Museum of Private Collections, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow in 1994 and the Anatoly Zverev Retrospective at the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow in 1999. His works can be found in many museums and public collections, including: the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union, Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Jersey; the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; the Moscow Museum of Modern Art; the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts; the Kolodzei Art Foundation; and the George Costakis Colection. In 2015, the AZ Museum, dedicated to Zverev’s work, opened in Moscow.


The Kolodzei Art Foundation, Inc., a US-based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public foundation founded in 1991, organizes exhibitions and cultural exchanges in museums and cultural centers in the United States, Russia and other countries, often utilizing the considerable resources of the Kolodzei Collection of Russian and Eastern European Art, and publishes books on Russian art.

The Kolodzei Collection of Russian and Eastern European Art is one of the largest private art collections, and consists of over 7,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photography, kinetic and digital art by more than 300 artists from Russia, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union of the 20th and 21st centuries.