In the Erzia Foundation restoration is performed by Alexander Tolokin, a specialist, who started his professional career at the Mordovian Erzia Museum of Fine Arts located in the sculptor’s native town, the capital of Mordovia, Saransk, where he worked with the Erzia collection for 18 years. In the course of his longstanding activities, A. Tolokin developed his own unique technology to preserve and restore subtropical trees quebracho, algarrobo and urunday, which was recognized and approved by experts of the Grabar Art Conservation Center and the State Russian Museum.
Alexander Tolokin is the only specialist in the world who can restore the quebracho and algarrobo wood. That is why the museums and private owners of S. Erzia works entrust him to save the sculptures created from a rare and whimsical wood, as only our restorer can cope with. Museum colleagues in Argentina respectfully call him «maestro grande».
In 2009, in Moscow, A. Tolokin successfully restored the “Woman’s Portrait” created by Erzia in Argentina in the 1940s, which is now in the collection of the Moscow collector and famous musician Dmitry Malikov.
The work done with the sculptures of S. Erzia from collections of the Eduardo Sivori Museum in Buenos Aires, Museum of Fine Arts (MUMBAT) in Tandil and the cultural foundation called “El Fogon de los Arrieros” in Resistencia (province of Chaco, Argentina), was highly esteemed by professionals, as evidenced by TV interviews and publications in the Argentinian media.
In 2013 A. Tolokin restored the unique portrait of Horacio Quiroga, a Uruguayan poet, created by Erzia in 1937 after the writer’s death, saving it from imminent destruction. Now it is in the Quiroga Memorial Museum in Salto (Uruguay), and is a particularly valuable cultural object, as it contains the capsule with the ashes of the great South American writer. Many central Uruguayan newspapers, such as «El Diario Cambio», «El Pueblo» and «La Prensа» wrote about the work of the Russian restorer.
In 2015 in Moscow, the “Woman’s Portrait” (“A Girl in a Kokoshnik”), an almost unknown work by S. Erzia, was found by chance in the collection of the Moscow Union of Artists. It was restored by A. Tolokin at the owners’ request.
In summer 2016 in Novorossiysk, a recently found statue created by S. Erzia of marble in the Urals in 1919 (“Small Eve”) was restored. Later it was displayed at the anniversary exhibitions “Sculptor Erzia and Novorossiysk: Return of the Master” and “Sculptor Erzia and Elena Mroz: Meeting in a Century” held in the Novorossiysk Historical Open-Air Museum (2016) and the Gelendzhik Local History Museum (2016). The Foundation’s immediate plans include conservation and restoration of a number of works by S.Erzia recently discovered in Russian and foreign collections, as well as the portrait of S. Erzia created by S. Konenkov for the S. Erzia gravestone monument in Saransk (from the collection of the S. Konenkov Studio Museum in Moscow).
The Foundation received the sketch “Native Land” created by Erzia in the 1910s, which was in a deplorable state and was revived by the specialists of the All-Russian Restoration Institute in Moscow.
Russian restorers in the Foundation work in partnership with the restorers from Italy. Thus, in 2009-2010, in the small town of Fezziano, Italy, the project to save the statue of John the Baptist from the Christo Re church in Liguria was successfully completed. It was created by S. Erzia in 1914 for the local parish at the suggestion of the Russian writer, Alexander Amfiteatrov. The statue had a dramatic fate, but the years of oblivion were replaced by its new discovery, thanks to the mastery of the restorer from Florence, Professor Daniele Angelotto, who returned the beautiful work of the Russian sculptor to the world. During the restoration, the entire surface of the prophet figure was cleaned of dirt, numerous layers of paint and lime were removed, and the lost base was recovered. This painstaking work resulted in the long-awaited return of the Prophet and Forerunner statue, John the Baptist – a saint particularly revered by all Christians – to the historic site at the cathedral, and now, like a century ago, the faithful can offer their prayers to him in the Fezzanno church.
The international partnership of restorers took place in Argentina in the course of the continuous work with the S. Erzia statue called “Rest” (El Reposo), which was in an extremely desperate state. Owing to joint efforts of the Russian restorer Alexander Tolokin and his South American counterparts, this work of art was returned to the Museum of Sculpture in Boedo district of Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital. The sculpture rescued by the restorers was presented on November 5, 2016 on the threshold of the 140th anniversary of S. Erzia with the personal assistance of Valeriy Kucherov, the head of the Russian House in Buenos Aires, and with the participation of the State Russian Museum director Vladimir Gusev.
The Foundation work to rescue S. Erzia sculptures continues. Day after day, due to the efforts made by our professionals, the priceless works of the great sculptor of the 20th century come back to life.
Works by Stepan Erzia from Russian and foreign private and museum collections restored by the Foundation and its partners
S.D. Erzia. «Ataraxy» (1930-40s, algarrobo, private collection, Moscow). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. «Portrait of a Woman» (1948, quebracho, Mordovian Erzia Museum of Fine Arts, Saransk). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia (?). «Head of a Woman» (1940s, walnut, private collection, Moscow). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. Landscape “My Motherland” (1910s, plywood, oil, gouache). Sketch.
Restored by: the State Research Institute of Restoration (Moscow)
S.D. Erzia. «Fantasy» (1938, quebracho, Eduardo Sivori Museum, Buenos Aires, Argentina). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. «Aviator» (1939, quebracho, Eduardo Sivori Museum, Buenos Aires, Argentina). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. «Thinking» (1938, quebracho, Eduardo Sivori Museum, Buenos Aires, Argentina). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. «Portrait of a Woman» (1940s, quebracho, private collection of D. Malikov, Moscow). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. «Portrait of the Nephew» (Vasily) (1912, bronze, Museum of Fine Arts MUMBAT in Tandil, Argentina). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. «Norwegian Woman» (Sadness) (1910-1913, bronze, Museum of Fine Arts MUMBAT in Tandil, Argentina). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. “A Mordvinian Woman” (Head of an Erzyan Woman) (1915, bronze, Museum of Fine Arts MUMBAT in Tandil, Argentina). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. «Reposo» («Rest») (1919, Ural marble, Boedo Society of Historical and Cultural Monuments, Buenos Aires, Argentina). Restored by A.N. Tolokin, MOA (Argentina)
S.D. Erzia. «Portrait of a Child» (Nino) (1930s, quebracho, private collection of Mauricio Neuman, Buenos Aires, Argentina). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. Statue of John the Baptist (1914, reinforced cement, Cristo Re Church, Fezzano, Italy). Restored by Prof. Danielle Angelotto (Florence)
S.D. Erzia. «Self-Portrait» (1940s, mixed technique, private collection, Moscow). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. «Portrait of Horacio Quiroga» (1937, quebracho, Memorial House Museum, Casa de Horacio Quiroga in Salto, Uruguay). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. «Portrait of a Woman» (1930s, mixed, Cultural Foundation “El Fogon de los Arrieros”, Resistencia, Argentina). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. «Female Head» (A Girl in a Kokoshnik) (1940s, quebracho, Moscow Union of Russian Artists, Moscow). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
Restoration of the Monument to soldiers who fell in battles during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 in the town of Shcherbinka (to the 70th Victory anniversary). Certificate of Honor issued by the head of the Shcherbinka Administration. Restored by A.N. Tolokin
Cleaning of burls from the memorial collection of the quebracho trunks brought by S. Erzia from Argentina to Moscow in 1950. Restored by A.N. Tolokin, with participation of V. Chekonakov
S.D. Erzia. «Eve» (Small Eve) (1919, Ural marble, Erzia Children Arts School, Novorossiysk). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.T. Konenkov. Bust of S.Erzia for the sculptor’s gravestone monument in Saransk. (1960s, tinted plaster, “S. Konenkov’s Creative Laboratory in Moscow” Studio Museum). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. A Woman with a Snake. (1919-20, limestone, Novorossiysk Historical Open-Air Museum). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. A Sitting Girl. (1921, author’s plaster, Gelendzhik Local History Museum). Restored by A.N. Tolokin
S.D. Erzia. Mirror Frame “Dragon” (1921, metal, wood, Gelendzhik Local History Museum)