Author: Leonid Tikhomirov

"Bekmet Annamamedov", 1959


I had occasion to go to Turkmenistan in the spring of 1959. I had heard that the Turkmens were the best-looking people in Central Asia And I can confirm that really is so. I can still recall that now distant impression of the people whose portraits I painted in the Turkmen villages, their beauty and cleanliness.
Leonid Tikhomirov, from the anthology “Land of the Golden Pomegranate. Turkmenia in Russian Poetry, Painting and Prose”. /press/the-land-of-the-golden-pomegranate-turkmenia-in-russian-poetry-prose-and-painting/.
We received a commission for the portraits of the best collective farm workers in Turkmenistan. The first time Olga could not come as our son Borya was ill. Leonid insisted that the workers should turn up at the appointed time. When no one showed up for the first and then for the second appointment, he went to the director of the collective farm to find out why the people were not coming. The manager looked like a rich landowner, and was pretty rude in telling Leonid that he had no need of him – they were all at work now, and couldn’t be bothered with him. Leonid was none too pleased, but having a job to do, he paid no attention to the overbearing tone and demanded that sitters should come to him for their portraits. The next day he was summoned and told that there was a telegram from Moscow, saying a tragedy had struck at home. In a terrible state Leonid dropped everything and flew back. When he arrived in Moscow it turned out that everything was fine – it was just a silly trick of the collective farm manager.

Oil on canvas

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