Vaska Emanuilova is one of the milestones of modern Bulgarian sculpture. She is the first waman-sculptor to leave a blazing trail in our art. Vaska Emanuilova achieved impressive results in portrait, nude, genre composition and history-inspired scenes. Her choice to work mainly with terracotta made this material the emblem of her art. In addition the artist produced scores of drawings and watercolors.
On 4 February 1985 Vaska Emanuilova made a donation comprising 90 statutes, 48 watercolors and 35 drawings to the Sofia Art Gallery. In the previous year the collection was on display at a branch of the Sofia Art Gallery known as the Vaska Emanuilova Permanent Exhibition at 9 Shesti Septemvri Street in Sofia. Unfortunately ten years later restitution claims shut down the gallery.
To mark the artist’s birth centenary the Sofia Art Gallery is organizing a grand retrospective, which presents the donation, and works that are possessed by the National Art Gallery and the Studio-Collection Svetlin Roussev. The exhibits comprise 107 statues, a selection of drawings and watercolor paintings and authentic documents concerning the artist. The Erotic Series that has been unknown until recently is also there. The focus of the exhibition are the portraits of Vaska Emanuilova painted by famous Bulgarian painters Stoyan Venev, Ivan Nenov, John Popov, Rouska Marinova, Kiril Petrov, Mina Ivanov, Donka Konstantinova, Nenko Balkanski, Lyuba Palikareva, Svetlin Roussev. Among the exhibits are pictures by the painter Kiril Petrov that are part of Vaska Emanuilova’s donation.
Members of the team that organized the exhibition are: Slava Ivanova, Vessela Hristova-Radoeva, Maria Vassileva and Marin Marinov. Irena Gerassimova and Simeon Simeonov did the conservation and restoration of the works.
A 134-page catalogue with a color album, a black-and-white catalogue section, a biography chapter, a bibliography part and appendices was released to commemorate the exhibition.
Co-organizers of the exhibition are:
National Museum of Bulgarian Fine Art
State Cultural Institute under the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Studio-Collection Svetlin Roussev
Vaska Emanuilova was born on 25 December 1905 in the village of Komshtitsa, Godech district. 1922-1927: student at the State Art Academy, painting classes under the tuition of Prof. Tzeno Todorov and sculpture classes under the tuition of Prof. Ivan Lazarov. 1927-1944: works on display at the general art exhibitions organized by the Union of Artists Societies in Bulgaria. From 1927 onwards her works were displayed at practically all exhibitions of lady artists. She was a founding member of the Society of New Artists in 1931. In 1939 she spent three months in France with a scholarship provided by monsieur Belain (secretary at the French Legation in Sofia). From 1944 onwards she had her works exhibited at practically all General Art Expositions arranged by the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Her domains were tabletop sculpture, easel painting, and larger-than-life sculpture in plaster of Paris, bronze and terracotta. Her preferences were the portrait, the nude, the history scenes and genre painting. She died in Sofia on 11 July 1985.
Vaska Emanuilova’s works are now possessions of: the National Art Gallery, the Sofia Art Gallery, the Art Galleries in Plovdiv, Rousse, Varna, Dobrich, Bourgas, the Art Gallery "Donation Svetlin Roussev" in Pleven, private collections in and outside Bulgaria.