Comment from the author
I worked in Moscow as a representative of Japanese company engaged in international logistics for about four years from July 1989. It was just a great turbulent era in history, resulting in the collapse of the USSR. One fine Sunday afternoon in spring 1990 I was leisurely spending a time in a living room of my apartment where I lived alone, when I suddenly noticed a bare state of the room. So in order to ease such atmosphere I hung a picture instead of displaying some flowers, and it unexpectedly gave me an opportunity to have a great interest in appreciating and collecting paintings as a new hobby, which came to occupy a large place in my inner life.
In this book I treated a charm and essential characteristic of contemporary Russian realism paintings based on my experience about paintings in Moscow, placing a focus on the period of historic upheaval when I happened to be stationed there first. It goes without saying that this book should belong to the category of art literature by nature from the viewpoint of its subject. However, in addition to the photographs of total thirty nine paintings with commentary for each of them, an ordinary life at the time of my station in Moscow as well as the story about where and how I obtained such and such paintings are mentioned and besides, this nonfiction-style story persistently goes on through the whole of this book. Therefore, it will be quite natural if someone thinks that the nonfiction story is unnecessary for art book, paying attention to such composition quite different from the general approach to art literature.
However, in this composition is reflected a thought of my own about the characteristic of Russian paintings, namely, as far as I understand, Russian paintings are closely connected with a social trend and the life of the people of the respective ages and so the access only from an esthetic standpoint without these social views won’t make us grasp the essence of Russian paintings. Therefore in order to suggest a hint for essential consideration of what Russian paintings are I took such way of writing as if there existed in the background the situation of Russian society and the life of people, including the things which seem to be quite unnecessary at first glance. For this very reason I for my part think that a famous people’s artist of the USSR Peter Ossovsky, who indeed liked the draft of this book, mentioned in its forward, as follows. “Reading Consideration of Contemporary Russian Paintings, I was greatly surprised that Mr. Ishii succeeded in disclosing with non-Russian eyes the very thing that is peculiar to Russian artists, that is to say, the deep insight and enthusiastic attitude of the artists toward the Russian landscape and the traditions of Russian realism school, on the foundation of which a large number of talented artists not only of the national level, but also of the international scale have always been produced till now and will be produced in the future as well.”