Born in 1924 in a small town near Moscow into the family of renowned artists Eugene Kropivnitsky and Olga Potapova, Valentina Kropivnitskaya initially manifested her creative side by writing exquisite poems. She continued her artistic education in local art school as well as under the guidance of her father. Kropivnitskaya’s talent thrived amongst the selected representatives of Moscow artistic elite.
In the late1950’s,in the village of Lianozovo, Kropivnitskaya, together with her husband Oscar Rabine, held gatherings with their artistic peers at their house to discuss the merits of creating their art. This became the place to meet for creative Muscovites, and an artistic stronghold against Soviet officialdom. Journalists, writers, poets, despite the dangers of group gatherings, also journeyed to the Rabine’s to stay current with the movements as they newly formulated. In 1964, the family returned to Moscow and the tradition continued in the capital city. The Rabine’s, Oscar, Valentina and their son, Alexander became the main organizers of the 1974 “Bulldozer Exhibition”, the seminal open air show of underground art smothered by the authorities.
In 1978, while the family was visiting France, Rabin was stripped of his Soviet citizenship and forbidden to return to Russia. The family remained in Paris. The same year, Kropivnitskaya’s first solo exhibition took place in Parkway Focus Gallery in London.
Kropivnitskaya’s oeuvre, delightful in its apparent naiveté, bears a strong exotic note. Dreamy anthropomorphic creatures populate her delicate monochromatic drawings, sporadically illuminated by subtle gradations of blue and pink. The creatures wander in phantasmagorical forests full of tropical shrubbery and foliage, with an occasional distant church or house in the background. Her detailed work is a romantic tribute to pure, untrammeled nature. Its fantastic realm is humane and welcoming. Surreal in its essence, it is full of extraordinary human warmth.
Kropivnitskaya’s work was the subject of numerous group and solo exhibitions, including a personal exhibition at The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg in 1993. The most recent retrospective, Oscar Rabine, Valentina Kropivnitskaya, Alexander Rabine, Paintings and Drawings from Private Collections, was held in 2007 at The State Pushkin Museum in Moscow.