GRINEVART / Others


No matter how gorgeous the interior design and furnishings are, any room with bare walls often feels incomplete. A beautiful artwork visually helps to create a feeling of movement and transformation of living space and can be a starting point to define the color scheme and match the rags, lamps and curtains. Art pieces help to create a truly finished look.


Find a right artwork for your house walls is a challenge. Whether you decide to make this journey by yourself or benefit from the services of an expert, use our 5 tips for choosing the right art for every room in your home:


Trust your guts and let your feelings guide you

If you do not buy art for investment do not check on the art market trends while looking for an art piece. Your house is the reflection of your personality and no one knows you better then yourself. Buy something that you are truly attracted because it is something that will ultimately stand the test of time. Luckily today there are plenty of sources, both online and in brick and mortar shops.

Or trust professionals

If your search for an artwork from pleasure turned into stress, delegate the duty to an art consultant. If you want to brighten your interior and make a good investment trust a consultant. Here in GRINEV art gallery we are used to ask the right questions to help you make the right choice. It is your treasure hunt, professionals just help with logistics.

Define the tone

Taylor Heery

Before you select your art, decide whether you want it to be complementary object or the central element of your interior design. Don’t forget about basic rules of coloristics : light and bright colors give off a casual feel, particularly on raw unframed canvas. Whereas a framed piece with images featuring distinct lines and structure in darker colors will create a more formal tone. Sometimes the colors of the artwork you choose can be the direct opposite of what you already have in your room, or in some cases you might want something that’s only monochrome. In this case the right frame might help to link the artwork with the furnishing. We encourage our artists to sell their artworks unframed. And we are on hand to connect you with our local partners if you need help with framing.

Select the style

The artwork you select to decorate your walls is a very personal choice. Do not rush into it to avoid impulsive decisions. Set up some criteria like genre, color scheme and size. If you find something that fit them, sleep on it and see it again after one or two days. GRINEV art gallery offers 7 days of cooling period to make sure that you made the best choice.

Choose the right size

It may sound controversial, but if you have a small room, one big piece of art can make a room seem and feel bigger. Lots of smaller pieces can be perfect for a gallery wall. Especially if it is hard for you to focus on one particular style. Feel free to mix a variety of artworks representing a range of media, from photographs to drawings, mixed in with personal mementos like children’s artwork or prints.

You may already have some idea of your future artworks or not, do not hesitate to check our catalog for a source of inspiration. If you need need recommendations about interior art or art investment feel free to contact us for a free consultancy service.

GRINEVART / Others

The debate around modern art, its values, criteria, and how it’s perceived by an audience and critics, will exist as long as art exists. In other words, it will always exist.

The art world, currently, is overcoming such global challenges as the pandemic and financial and economic crises, which directly impacts both the artists and the collectors. Art galleries are inventing new methods of artist promotion, investors are making predictions, while artists explore new content and styles and keep a close eye on current events to posit a new point of view on today’s world. Yet, the art world is not as insular as before: the borders are melting away, and communication across those who make up this world is not only still there, but is also actively evolving.

There existed, however, another form of art where artists and their creations occupy a space completely outside this environment, free of any frameworks and stereotypes. This is outsider art, or art brut, which is considered the ‘purest’ form of art based on incidental psychological content taken from the artist’s deep consciousness and subconscious, existing on paper or other kinds of material.

Vladimir Abakumov, who founded the first and only Russian Museum of Outsider Art, helps us understand the details of this ‘raw’ art.

Vladimir Abakumov,Director of the Museum of Outsider Art

The Insular History of Art Brut and the Artists Who Create It

Hello Vladimir. Thanks for taking time to speak with us. For starters, can you please clarify, which term is better to use, art brut or outsider art?

Art brut is a French term coined by Jean Dubuffet, which literally means ‘raw art’ or even ‘low art’. Meanwhile, outsider art was originated by Roger Cardinal, an art expert, in 1972. This is the best English equivalent of art brut (Iskusstvo postoronnikh – its Russian equivalent). Both are terms are good to use. However, there are subtle stylistic differences: the French term is more applicable to the art itself, while the English one denotes the artists and their way of life outside the traditional artistic environment.

Alright, now that we have a better idea of the terminology, can we talk a bit more about the artists that followed this style? Who actually are they? People with mental illness, freaks, or, perhaps, even criminals?

Art brut artists are kind of outcasts, both socially and culturally. Most of them,indeed, have psychic problems, but their need for creative work is inevitable. Their works are rather imaginative and unconventional, based not on perception of reality, but on reflection of an internal alternative world of the creator.

It is believed that this style appeared thanks to Jean Dubuffet, a successful French artist and sculptor. Not only did he coin the art brut term, but also built one of the most significant collections of outsider art works, which is now a part of the Art Brut Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. Jean Dubuffet turned his attention to the art of [clinically] insane people after a book by Hans Prinzhorn called Artistry of the Mentally Ill was published in 1922.

It is generally accepted that France and Switzerland are historical centers of outsider art. In the early to mid-20th century, France was the home of a rather focussed artistic environment, which proved fruitful for various artists, helping them to find new styles and forms.

The same period in Switzerland was the era of psychiatry, with art therapy gaining particular influence. Psychiatrists could now access and analyse the work of talented mentally ill people . Naturally, while all works were important in terms of psychoanalysis, around 85% of them were considered to have no artistic value, or, putting it bluntly, were straight trash. Yet, there were some very good and interesting examples, too.

According to Dubuffet’s definition, there are two most important criteria of art brut: no contact with the artistic environment (personal or professional), and a kind of artistic impetuosity. Once having found their own touch, an artist may continue working with it for a lifetime. Another thing is that even a few dozen of works is not enough for an outsider artist: there should be hundreds or thousands. When it comes to art brut, one should not also be oriented towards the common artistic world benchmarks and try to find some particular ideas in the outsider creations; more often than not, those are just products of fevered imagination.

What is Art Brut? What is it Not?

Speaking of Dubuffet, he once compared the traditional artists with monkeys and chameleons, because of their changing style and dependence on public opinion.

This is what he actually said: ‘Nous entendons par là des ouvrages exécutés par des personnes indemnes de culture artistique, dans lesquels donc le mimétisme, contrairement à ce qui se passe chez les intellectuels, ait peu ou pas de part, de sorte que leurs auteurs y tirent tout (sujets, choix des matériaux mis en œuvre, moyens de transposition, rythmes, façons d’écriture, etc.) de leur propre fond et non pas des poncifs de l’art classique ou de l’art à la mode. Nous y assistons à l’opération artistique toute pure, brute, réinventée dans l’entier de toutes ses phases par son auteur, à partir seulement de ses propres impulsions. De l’art donc où se manifeste la seule fonction de l’invention, et non celles, constantes dans l’art culturel, du caméléon et du singe.’[1]

Which animal do you think is best to compare with outsider artists?

I believe my comparison is not at all flattering, but their style and way of life reminds me of moles and platypuses.

When isolation is one the fundamental criteria of of art brut, how do connoisseurs get the outsider artists’ works? How did you personally build your collection?

Just like Dubuffet, I had to visit a lot of psychiatric clinics where I met both psychiatrists and artists. When I was a director at the Humanities Center, my coworkers and I ran very successful projects in the USSR and other countries. Then, my collection turned into a museum; first, artists’ family members arrived to bring more works, and then general audience appeared. Most of the works cannot be analyzed traditionally, and many of them are not interesting, neither to connoisseurs nor to the audience, I had to base my expertise on my own emotions and perception. I picked the paintings where I could feel the powerful artistic energy – the bursting troubled soul, if I may put it this way.

It may sound surprising, but art brut did influence the artistic world in general. Hans Prinzhorn, a German psychiatrist and art historian I have already mentioned, believed there were no large differences between the traditional art and that of mentally ill people. A progressive expert, he deliberately included the works that could, in his opinion, influence art in general, into his book, Artistry of the Mentally Ill. This book became a desk companion for Pablo Picasso, André Breton and other renowned influencers in the world of art.

Transformational Potential – Purveyance of Outsider Art

Do people buy art brut works to keep them at home?

I know some cases, but this is rare. It is known that David Bowie, Robbie Williams, and Madonna have large art brut collections, but this is, most likely, not for home decorations.

Does outsider art have any investment potential?

Of course. One can buy art brut works in the Outsider Art Fair, which takes place every year. Outsider art is also promoted by many charity organizations.

When it comes to pricing, the artist’s name, their awareness, interviews, and other information matters. When there are no connections with the artistic environment and very little promotion, where does the valuation come from?

Initially, outsider art was never expensive. What has a good investment potential now are rare works by those who already died. My museum has 4,000 creations, and the authors of 70% of them are no longer alive. The Outsider Art auction run by Christis offers works by Henry Darger or Bill Tailor, among others. They are dead as well, and their works may cost up to $75,000.

On the other hand, art brut is gaining popularity, and the audience is getting interested, which also impacts the pricing. The Gugging Gallery, formerly a psychiatry clinic, and now an art brut center, is worth mentioning in this context. Outsider artists’ works are both exhibited and sold here. A single work might have cost a few dollars here in the 70s, while now the price has gone well up. Most outsider artists, however, are not very much worried whether their works are going to be sold or not; the process of creation is what matters to them.

The ironic thing, however, is when the artists say they belong to art brut. In this case, they become ‘commercial’ artists at once. This most often happens in the US, a country with a huge number of galleries, including art brut ones.

Alright, then, do you mean that Yayoi Kusama, an artist working out of a psychiatric hospital, is not an outsider because she is recognized by the global community? That being despite her reclusive life and an officially diagnosed mental disease?

Correct, she is not. You can use another term here, though: a psychotic.

A traditional example of a psychotic artist is Rosa Zharkikh. For over a decade, she worked with graphics, then with fine textile art. She was a hermit and died alone in her chaotic house. Her body was discovered after a while, because she had no contact with the outside world.

Rosa Zharkikh, Parallel World

It is also worth mentioning that art brut implies various criteria, not just mental illness. You won’t be able to understand whether this is an outsider art example or not, just by looking at a painting. Surrealist artists alter their consciousness on purpose, just to create psychedelic works, but this can’t be called art brut, because it is done deliberately.

Dealing with artistic people in general is hard. One can imagine what may happen if you liaise with mentally ill people…

I always tried to communicate with outsiders like I would do so with artists, not with insane people. There were some issues, of course. Sometimes we would arrange an exhibition, get some works from the artist, and get brochures and invitation cards, while having severe financial problems… Then, just imagine: the artist would say: ‘Stop it, I don’t want to do this anymore, you don’t have my consent.’

When it comes to art brut, the works, not only the artists, also require a special approach. Michel Thévoz, an art expert who arranged the first art brut exhibition in Lausanne, understood that better than anyone else. This is why he did not provide any names or information on the technique, only a photo and a short bio.

He’d ask, ‘Why would we give a name to a work created by mere chance?’

Challenges Facing a Disruptive Art Form in Eastern Europe

Can you please tell a bit more about your Outsider Art Museum? How did it all start?

It started with the Humanities Center, which focused on modern art and theater. We had some fashion shows, with which we traveled around the USSR. In 1990, we arranged an exhibition in the Medicine Museum, showcasing works by mentally ill people. These works were taken from various psychiatric hospitals by Alexey Ivanov, my friend who was working with a charity at that time. Year after year, we eventually built an extensive collection, which helped us open the first Outsider Art Museum exhibition in 1996. That was the first exhibition of this form of art, which helped add to the comprehensive view of a modern art process in Russia. We had a brilliant team then; Anna Yarkina deserves special mention, she did a lot to let the Russians know about the outsider art.

Is there any interest in art brut in today’s Russia?

While in France and Switzerland primitive (including psychopathological expression) was perceived as a source of inspiration and development of artistic ideas, in totalitarian Russia, creations of mental patients were considered manifestations of a disturbed conscience for a very long time.

Art brut still does not have such a large niche in Russia as the one in the US or Europe, where the interest towards it appeared at the same time as the relevant style and psychiatrist studies. In Vienna, for instance, mentally ill people’s works have been popular with connoisseurs and experts for decades, and are exhibited in museums on a regular basis, side by side with the world-renowned paintings. On the other hand, in the US there are so many private collections and galleries, that the line between ‘true’ art brut and commercial art is really blurred. In Russia, on the contrary, most financing goes to academic art, and experts are mostly after the same.

My museum was the only venue in Russia to solely exhibit art brut. We’ve got the Naive Art Museum, that has cross-section of non-academic art, connected in some way with Outsider Art, but that’s another story.

Why did you move to Montenegro, and was it successful in terms of art promotion?

I had to move mostly due to financial reasons. We had a discounted rent in Moscow, but it started going up by around $15,000 every single quarter. Keeping art works in Croatia is less expensive. Yet, when it comes to artistic promotion, it’s not that successful, since this is mostly about sandy beaches and tourism in general. Russians are mostly considered moneybags here. We are not supposed to have any issues with business promotion or financing.

In neighboring Serbia, however, the interest towards art brut is substantial. There is a famous non-mainstream art museum with many exhibitions, and the Art Fair for Outsiders, as well biennial and triennial exhibitions for non-mainstream art arranged by the Ministry of Culture and Information. In 2016, I was a member of the jury for these exhibitions and contests.

Thank you very much, Vladimir, for telling us about this reclusive art brut world. We do hope the Russian audience will become more interested in this style. We wish you success in working with your museum now based in Montenegro.

Thanks for your interest towards outsider art, Victoria. Good luck in working with your gallery.


[1] By this, we mean the works created by people free from artistic culture, in which mimicry, unlike what happens with intellectuals, plays a small or no part at all. Such authors use everything (themes, materials, means of transposition, rhythms, ways of writing, etc.) from their own background and not from the clichés of classical or fashionable art. We are thus witnessing a very pure, raw artistic action, reinvented in its entirety at all stages by the author, based solely on their own impulses. This means, the art where the mere invention function manifests itself, and not that cultural art of chameleons and monkeys.

GRINEVART / Others

This article was inspired by the motivational examples from one of Paul Arden’s books, “Whatever you think, think the opposite”. We all love flowers. We love them alive or their essence and aesthetic captured by artists. We buy flowers, we grow flowers. We are flower enthusiasts, we love flower art.

Drawing a Flower – Inescapable Flower Art

Being aesthete or artist, you have definitely , at one point at least, had the intention to draw a flower. You’ve probably followed through on the impulse, drawing a beautiful blooming magnolia, or a rose in aquarelle.
Perhaps you’ve captured a photo of the first narcissus that you saw during your mountain walk or the bouquet that you received from your partner? 

You probably start with drawing some petals, then a stem, then probably some leaves…
While composing a photo, we choose the most attractive flower, arrange the lighting and even sprinkle a little (not too much) water to give our object that extra touch of verve.

It turns out beautiful, no doubt, but never memorable. 

Here is our selection of the artists that were able to perfect the perfect. We witness the whole, seeing first the outstanding piece of art, and then we see the flowers.

André Kertéz

Pulling the Object from Its Context

flower art - a photo of a tulip by Andre Kertez
André Kertéz 1930s, Wilted Tulip

This photo was commissioned from him by the French humour magazine, Le Sourire to complete two series of figural studies. These portraits were published alongside a text by the writer A.P. Barancy, entitled Fenêtre ouverte sur l’au-dela [window open (on) to the other side], which reads the series as a meditation on what it means to defamiliarise the ordinary by extracting objects from their surroundings.

Our eyes are immediately drawn to the head of the tulip, which hangs bizarrely lower than the surface upon which the vase is set. 

Could we assume that the joyful tulip could be shown as emblematic of disappointment and sadness?

Georgia O’Keeffe

André Kertéz 1930s, Wilted Tulip

With all the dramatic shifting of her artistic practices – from abstract to New York Urban landscapes, paintings of spectacular stark landscapes and Native American and Hispanic cultures – O’Keeffe always returned to the flower motif.

O’Keeffe Offering New Yorkers a Moment in Time

She once explained:

 “So I said to myself – I’ll paint what I see – what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it – I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.” 

And New York and the world was left  fascinated, dubbing her the “mother of American modernism” and the icon of the feminist art movement.

William Farr

William Farr, No name composition

Born in Huddersfield, this young, multidisciplinary artist conjures beauty from other people’s rubbish and from the flowers he picks from the garden. William’s photo series reflects around the artist’s ego and our natural human desire to leave a mark in the world we live in.

By producing his temporary objects, he deconstructs our fantasy of living forever as but a fig leaf for the fear of death. He claims to make temporary things because “we all are temporary”.

Nobuyoshi Araki

“Flowers” is a collection of vivid close-ups of flowers, both sensually evocative and charged with a colourful realism linking Araki’s oeuvre to his cultural roots, recalling traditional Japanese art of ikebana.

Nobuyoshi Araki's flower art, symbols of sexuality and femininity.

Nobuyoshi Araki (b. 1940) | Pink Flower,1990

Araki’s Flowers – Femininity, Mortality, and Mystery

His flowers are symbols of sex, they are likened femininity, they may be bringers of death or bearers of mysteries. The first flowers that Araki ever photographed were modest flower compositions of higanbana or cemetery flowers. He asked the graveyard guardian to save flowers for him and he would photograph them against a plain white background.

These flower images of the retrospective of life touch us, simply.

Irving Penn

Irving Penn (1917-2009) – Lavender Poppy

Irving Penn was drawn to flowers “considerably after they’ve passed the point of perfection”, captivated by their blemishes and shrivelling petals. This enduring symbol of remembrance of the First World War looks like it was pressed in a book and then found and suddenly revokes the memories.

Penn was less interested in the well-acknowledged, yet short-lived beauty of the flower. After its natural catharsis, he captured its second eternal life and immortalised the beauty.

A Study in Flower Art Perspective

Of course this article is not about flowers and just flower art. Is art really about what’s displayed in front of you? Let’s look at this, instead, as a vantage point from which to view talent and to see the world from a different perspective.

GRINEVART / Others

The pandemic that we all find ourselves in has raised global questions about our current way of life, global economics and investing strategies. Nowadays, we see that investors focus not only on pure financial return but also on responsible, sustainable ways of doing business, ensuring that their money has a positive impact on local society and the world at large, whether they buy art online and through traditional means.

Deloitte report 2019 claimed that socially responsible investment products in art and culture are ranked 28% higher by private banking. 

Art – Investing in Real Emotion

The new generation of collectors are even more actively seeking an emotional and personal connection with artists and their masterpieces. For many collectors, investment in art, and especially in emerging artists, is not only a strategic decision, but also a statement. It’s a way of establishing their identity along with their hobbies, interests, and passions. 

Art is an endless universe and emerging talents are stars that appear on the horizon. They are already a part of the art galaxy, but you can see them only if you take a better look. And the new generation of daring art collectors happily investigate, search for up-and-coming artists, and make this conscious decision of purchasing their art. 

First, investing in emerging artists is an act of openness and curiosity. Like all the discoveries it brings the satisfaction of being a pioneer and a visionary, daring to follow your own feelings and vision and establishing and impacting current art market trends.

Purity – The Allure of an Emerging Artist

Emerging artists are pure souls who have not yet been commercialised. If you see a unique artist with great technique and a strong, powerful message, make the connection. An artist who turns out such pieces is a rare gem trying to thrive in a world where everything can be, and is, copied.
Don’t misunderstand, this does not mean that emerging artists are outsiders. On the contrary, they are active players of the art community; forming and reshaping it. 

Contemporary Art Delights in Digital

The new generation of up-coming-artists are digitally present and active, which is now a part of the game and this joint effort of the galleries, online platforms and themselves contribute to their recognition and increasing value of their art. They know how to promote their artwork, not only through offline galleries, art fairs and auctions, but also across internet platforms, sometimes reaching a far wider platform than traditional plaftorms.

Instagram – A Contemporary Source to Find and Buy Art Online

Take the example of Unskilled Worker, London-based, self-taught artist who rose to prominence via her wildly successful Instagram account. One Instagram post swept the unknown artist into a real collaboration with Gucci and lightning international recognition.

Talent among Eastern European and Post-Soviet Artists 

Russian emerging artists are affordable. With certain recognition in the local art market, they constantly explore new markets and international channels. They are not snobs, yet, and happily participate in local online auctions such as Vladey.net or exclusive communities on Facebook, like Шар и Крест (The Ball and the Cross) where among the recognized  masters they can sell/donate ( the price is symbolic) their art in order to democratise and disrupt the art market. 

Could you imagine paying 100 Euro instead of 1000 Euro for a painting of Kirill Kto, theoretic and a cult figure within Moscow’s street art subculture? Indeed, I know some who are that fortunate..

Open to Community and Collective Spirit

The new online initiative #artistsupportpledge just proved it with more than 13.6K of posts with artworks on sale from emerging artists all over the world to support their artists fellows.

If you plan to invest in art, or in a particular artist, or you’re  looking for some unique artwork to extend your collection, take a look at our curated selection or contact us for personalised advice.

GRINEVART / Others

The art community is now more vulnerable than ever as galleries are shutting down, exhibitions are being cancelled, and a general air of uncertainty reigns, due to the continued spread of the novel coronavirus. We’re taking a look at how to support artists during this trying time.

Support artists by joining the Artist Support Pledge, initiated by Matthew Burrows on Instagram. Help out artists during the difficult time of the novel coronavirus.

COVID-19 and a Community of Sharing

Due to the current climate, many artists find themselves without work and traditional channels of exhibiting their art.

The Artist Support Pledge is an initiative by Matthew Burrows, a London-based artist, on his Instagram page. The initiative went viral and generated around 13,6K posts using the hashtag #artistsupportpledge.

The Artist Support Pledge – How Does It Work?

The idea is simple.

Artists who commit to the pledge will post images of available work for no more than £200.
Each time their sales reach £1,000 they promise to buy another artist’s work for £200. 

This provides artists the opportunity to financially support their fellow artists all over the world by making some income selling their own art.

Based on trust, solidarity and community spirit this initiative is beneficial for both artists and art lovers who can now buy affordable art and discover new talent.

Support Artists

Check out the ARTIST SUPPORT PLEDGE page to support artists during COVID-19and join in the collective spirit!