The exhibition commemorating the anniversary of the artist’s birth comprises part of the initiative of the Sofia City Art Gallery to show its visitors the work of Bulgarian artists, who went down in the history of Bulgarian art, yet remaining far from the “spotlight”.
Vaska Popova-Balareva was among the artists who avoided flaunting their presence in the artistic circles of the 1930’s through the 1970’s. Having lived her life like a true aristocrat, she is giving today’s viewers the opportunity to catch a glimpse of her world. The exhibition features plenty of portraits of children, men and women, for which the artist employed a variety of painting media. There is an interesting group of paintings standing out, representing the images of tenor Stefan Makedonski, composer Lyubomir Pipkov, artists Cyril Petrov and Raphael Mihaylov, author Elisaveta Bagryana, all of whom were friends with the artist. The exhibition also features still lifes, landscapes, graphic works, as well as various projects of hers belonging to the field of applied arts (leather crafting).
The works featured in the exhibition belong to the collections of the Sofia City Art Gallery, the National Art Gallery, the “Boris Denev” Veliko Tarnovo City Art Gallery, the “Petko Zadgorski” Burgas City Art Gallery, the “Elena Karamihaylova” Shumen City Art Gallery, the Ruse City Art Gallery, the “Svetlin Rusev” Studio-Collection – Sofia, the “Earth and People” National Museum – Sofia, the State Music and Ballet Center – Sofia, as well as of many private collectors.
Vaska Popova-Balareva was born in the city of Ruse on April 7, 1902. She was raised in the family of a general and a mother who was an artist and a musician. Her love of art took her to the National Academy of Arts, Sofia, where she took up studies in Prof. Tseno Todorov’s painting class. Under the mentorship of Prof. Nikola Marinov, she mastered the language of colours, graduating in 1927. Two years later, following an admission test, she was admitted to the Academy of Arts in Rome for further specialization. There she got acquainted in detail with leather crafting techniques. After her return to Bulgaria, she established herself as a pioneer in this field. In 1933 she married General Hristo Balarev, with whom she had a son. The artist’s home was frequented by intellectuals Soya Paprikova, Bistra Vinarova, Alexander Poplilov, Cyril Petrov, Raphael Mihaylov, Andrey Nikolov, Boris Ivanov, Alexander Zhendov, Mara Georgieva, Vaska Emanuilova, Veselin Staykov, Lyuba Palikareva. Vaska Popova-Balareva died on August 3, 1979 in Sofia.