Art dealer and collector Jacques Monasch

Aleksii Bednoshey

“I was fascinated by the unique style of Social Realism and Russian Impressionism!”

Among numerous art galleries in the Netherlands that mostly present contemporary art, a special place belongs to Monasch Fine Art gallery that has its own unique niche and focuses on contemporary figurative art of the Eastern Europe countries. Everything began in 1999, when its owner, Jacques Monasch started collecting pictures of Russian and Ukrainian artists. In the first years the gallery had its branches in Moscow and Amsterdam. In the year of 2017 galleries in Spiegelkwartier were opened — in the very heart of art district of Amsterdam and in the artistic district of Sablon, in Brussels. From this moment the gallery increased its scope of activities and included in its collection the works of art from France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

– “I was fascinated by the inimitable style and mastery of the schools of Social Realism and Russian impressionism. I travelled around a lot of regions, visiting artists’ studios from Moscow to Vladivostok, from Kyiv to Novosibirsk, from Odessa to Baku” – says Jacques Monasch.

Art is a part of ideology, and the eastern European art of the 20th century is more than that. For decades it has developed in a certain isolation and it is absolutely special, since it gave rise to a number of new trends: avant-garde, as something unique; social realism as a reaction to political demand and nonconformism that became a unique response to the international processes of that time.

Monasch Fine Art Gallery was not only the one that made a lot of names of wonderful Russian and Ukrainian artists known to the art connoisseurs in the Netherlands, but with its collection it excited the Europeans’ interest to the history of the country that was closed with the iron curtain for many years.

 The gallery presents the creative works of both high-profile artists, such as Peter Stoliarenko, Mikhail Guyda, Vladymyr Kopayev, Nina Bozhko, David Shostak, Galyna Gorodnicheva, and such great pieces of work of younger artists – Helene Pavlenko, Dmytro Makovetsky, Oleksiy Bednoshey, etc.

As a rule, every gallery has its own circle of artists, and it is hard enough for an outside newcomer to gain the admission to this circle. In this context, Monasch Fine Art gallery is cooperative with new talented authors. Besides, Monasch Fine Art considers that acquiring and popularizing the heritage of the artists who already passed away is an important direction of activity.

 New figurative painting becomes topical due to it integration into the actual art. Having been in conflict and opposition to abstract trends for a long time, the phenomenon of figurative arts gained new freedom, and Monasch Fine Art gallery stays up to date with the current trends, presenting works by Victor Sydorenko and Irina Drozd at international art fairs, for example, in London. 

In recent decades such top art institutions, as auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Phillips de Pury closely observe and take a keen interest in the art of the countries of Eastern Europe. Each of them have special departments dealing with this issue, and a lot of works from Jacques Monasch’s gallery were sold through Christie’s in London and Sotheby’s in Amsterdam.

The pandemic has greatly changed the world. European museums, galleries and exhibition halls became perhaps the first concomitant victims of COVID-19. Limitations that traditional institutions faced made agents of the art industry start maneuvering, specifically they shifted their activity into online environment.

Monasch Fine Art gallery went online too and is fully functional through its website social networks, because the extensive digital transformation brought many new customers to art market.   Anna Lavrekha  23rd February 2022

Anna Lavrekha, of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine, is an art critic, curator and art dealer