Some truly artistic people don’t know how to communicate with #normcore culture. Their visions are so all-encompassing, their need to put brush or pen to paper so engulfing, that they find it almost unbearable to spend time away from their creations with those who can’t comprehend their eccentricity.
One such artist is Nicholas Kalmakoff, an impoverished Russian aristocrat who lived in obscurity in Paris and died alone in his hospice room in 1955, whereby all his paintings were put in storage to lay untouched. In 1962, a Hungarian flea market seller sold a lot of 40 canvases to two men, Bertrand Collin du Bocage and Georges Martin du Nord, having acquired them from the aforementioned storage unit when it was auctioned off, Storage Wars style. du Nord and du Bocage immediately saw the twisted genius of his work, and discovered all they could about the mysterious artist.
Although Kalmakoff did exhibit his work during his life, it wasn’t considered to be of any value, perhaps because of his obsession with the Devil and with sex and eroticism – he claimed that he saw the Devil every night, and painted him over and over again. He followed an extreme sect of Russian Christianity called Skoptzy – as did Rasputin – which advocated against sex, as it saw sex as the root of all evil, calling even for castration if it was warranted. Kalmakoff has been accused of misogyny in his life and in his subject matter (not surprising if he was celibate and contemplating castration), but his work is also highly erotic and visually sensual, with a cacophony of color and swirling movement.
You can read an in-depth history of his work via Visionary Revue here, and check out a gallery of his works, mostly painted between 1910 and 1930, below…