On 10th November 2021, the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund presents ‘Bread’, the exhibition by Atanas Katchamakoff, at the Haus Wittgenstein Bulgarian Cultural Institute, Vienna.
Atanas Simov Katchamakoff (1889–1984) was a Bulgarian sculptor who lived in and carved out a successful career in the USA. He was born in the pretty Balkan townlet of Lyaskovets, and studied Sculpture at the Academy of Arts in Sofia, under Prof. Ivan Lazarov. Together with his wife Alexandra, a ceramic artist, he left for Paris and, in 1924, settled in New York. There, his sculpture, ‘Indian Woman and Child’, was included in a prestigious exhibition, winning him First Prize. In 1930, he began working for popular film productions in Los Angeles, moving his studio to Palm Springs, where he lived until the end of his life. He held solo exhibitions in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco. In the early 1980s, he returned to Bulgaria, where he exhibited his artworks at the National Gallery, Sofia, later donating them to his native Lyaskovets.
The exhibition, ‘Bread’, from the collection of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’, presents a cycle of 30 colour drawings by Atanas Katchamakoff, accompanied by an authorial text entitled ‘Our Daily Bread’. The works are a visualised tale about the way of life and labour of Bulgarian peasants in the early 20th century, about the ritual stages in creating bread during the different seasons.
The artworks are a kind of continuation of the novel, ‘Dobry’, first published in 1934 in the USA, and based on Atanas Katchamakoff’s childhood stories back in his native Bulgaria. In 1935, the novel was awarded the John Newbery Gold Medal of the American Library Association for Children’s and Adolescent Literature. Eighty-six years later, the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund published the book in Bulgarian for the first time.
The exhibition runs in Vienna until 20 January 2022.