Alexander Gassel was born in Moscow, USSR in 1947. He graduated from Moscow Institute of Arts and Graphics in 1970 with an MA in Fine Arts. From 1970 to 1980, he worked at the Grabar Center for the Restoration and Preservation of Art in Moscow, restoring and copying medieval tempera paintings. Influenced by this experience, the artist began to create his own original paintings – for the most part personal interpretations of Biblical events. At that time, it was absolutely forbidden in the Soviet Union to exhibit contemporary religious paintings. In 1980, Alexander Gassel left the USSR to start a new life in the USA.
Alexander Gassel has been using an ancient technique: egg yolk tempera. He makes his own color pigments by grinding natural stones and minerals, such as malachite, cinnabar, or lapis into powder, which he then mixes with egg yolk. The artist often applies gold or silver leaf on the paintings. Based on traditional Russian artistic values, his new art works often employ a surrealistic combination of details from different civilizations. Old symbols are joined with contemporary subjects, reflecting more and more his new experience of life in America.
1975-1976 Stroganoff Art Graduate School. Department of Art History. Moscow, USSR
1970-1971 Grabar Restoration and Conservation Center of Russia. Moscow, USSR
1965-1970 Institute of Arts and Graphics. Moscow, USSR (Degree: MA)
PAINTINGS IN MUSEUMS AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS:
• VATICAN COLLECTION Vatican City, Vatican
• SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER Los Angeles, CA
• RYAZAN ART MUSEUM Ryazan, Russia
• KIRILLOV ART MUSEUM Kirillov, Russia
• JEWISH FEDERATION Marblehead, MA
• EPISCOPAL DIVINITY SCHOOL Cambridge, MA
• ST. LEO PARISH Stamford, CT
• ST. ANDREW CHURCH Marblehead, MA
A large number of paintings, wall paintings, icons, prints and drawings are in private collections in the USA, Germany, France, Netherlands, Russia, Israel and other countries.
1990 Modern Liturgy Visual Arts Award
1990 Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Program. Painting Award Recipient. Finalist
1989 Curator’s Award. National Competition “In Search of the American Experience” Museum of National Arts Foundation, New York, NY
PRESS REVIEWS ABOUT THE ARTIST:
TV show RTNWMNB NY, NY, oct.16 2003
TV show. Boca Raton, Florida 1998
Reviews in local newspapers
Number of TV shows about the artist. WNDS NH. AXXESS TV Salem MA, Boston TV station, Marblehead TV station, 1994 – 1996
Twelve Gates to the City, Chrysalis books. Swedenborg Foundation. West Chester, PA.1996Harmony of Paradise, Moscow Tribune, November 18, 1992
Alexander Gassel in Moscow. 2 programs, National Television. Moscow, Russia, Nov. 1992
Twelve Years Later. Interview with Alexander Gassel in Moscow, Radio Moscow, Nov. 1992
Biblical Subjects in the House of Arts. Commersant Daily, N. 27, November 11, 1992
Russian Artists in Boston. Art of New England, January 1992
Hopes of Life in the Eternity of Colors. Panorama, January 1991
European Icons in Duxbury. Boston Globe, December 9, 1990
The Visual Arts Awards 1990: Permanent Category. Modern Liturgy, September 1990
Soviet Artists Display Wide Range of Work. Boston Globe, January 14, 1990
Art Program. Voice of America, Washington, D. C. December 1988
Alexander Gassel at Walker Ursitti. Washington Post, December 1988
Art Program, Radio Canada, Toronto, Canada, December 1987
Art Program, Voice of America, Washington, D. C., April 1987
West German TV documentaries about Soviet Art including nonconformist painters 1976.
2012 Solo exhibition. Museum of Russian Icons. Clinton. MA.
2009 Art Basel Festival. Nu Gallery. Miami Florida.
2004 Gallery at the Piano Factory. Boston, MA
2003 Gallery at the St. Paul Cathedral NY. NY.
2002 Multicultural Art Center. Cambridge, MA
2003 Cloister Gallery, Marblehead, MA. Solo.
2004 St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, MA, Solo.
2000 JFS of North Shore, Lynn, MA
2000 Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA
1998 Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA
1998 Rosen Museum Gallery, Boca Raton, FL
1996 Gallery at the AXXESS TV. Salem, MA
1995 Starr Gallery, Newton, MA
1996 Art Connection Gallery, Clearwater Beach, FL
1997 Gallery at the Russian-American Cultural Center, Boston, MA
1998 Solo Exhibition. Central House of the Arts. Moscow, Russia
1999 Solo Exhibition. Clark University, Worchester, MA
2000 Russian Icons from Museum Collection and Alexander Gassel Spiritual Paintings. Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA
1990 Exhibition of Award Recipients of the Massachusetts Fellowship Program. MA
1991 Solo Exhibition, Harvard Boston Community. Starr Gallery, Newton, MA
1992 National Competition ”in Search of the American Experience” of the Museum of National Arts Foundation” New York, NY.“ Curator’s Award Winner. Catalog.
1993 Solo Exhibition. The Walker, Ursitti & McGinnis Gallery, Washington, D. C.
1994 Eighth National Open Juried Art Exhibit “Contemporary Spiritual Art” Paul VI Institute for the Arts, Washington, D. C.
1987 Exhibition of Artists dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall City Hall, West Berlin, Germany. Catalog
1987 “Die Gruppe Terpentin,” Gallery Interartex, Mettmann, Germany
1988 “Twelve Russian Ambitions,” Gallery Hittite, Toronto, Canada
1989 “Four Russian Artists,” Multicultural Art Center, Cambridge, MA
1990 Two solo Exhibitions, Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA
1982 Solo Exhibition, Eisenhower College, Utica, NY
1976 First open exhibition of nonconformist artists of the USSR. Gallery of the Union of the Soviet Graphic artists. Gruzinskaya street. Moscow. USSR. Paintings are taken of the wall by the Communist Party officials.
1976 Second color of prehistoric painting in the Kapova cave. “Science is a force” publishing. Moscow. USSR.
2009 “Pravoslavnaya Ikona” (Russian Orthodox Icon”) ACT Publishing. Moscow. Russia.