Vera Todorova Nedkova

1908Skopje, Ottoman Empire (today North Macedonia) | 1996Sofia, Bulgaria

Bulgarian painter.

Vera Todorova Nedkova was born in Skopje, where her father, a diplomat, worked as a government official. Her mother Rayna Sarmadjieva had studied music in Geneva. During her childhood V. Nedkova lived in Bitola, Thessaloniki, Budapest and Bern.
In 1923 she studied at the State Academy of Art, Sofia. The following yеar her family left for Vienna, where she studied painting and restoration at the Academy of Arts from 1924 to 1930. She spoke several languages. In 1931 she spent nine months in Florence to study the Renaissance and travel around Tuscan; she returned to Vienna with many drawings, pastels and watercolours. She showed a number of them at a group exhibition at the Künstlerhaus in Vienna in 1933 and at her first solo exhibition in Sofia in 1934. She settled in Sofia in 1934, renting different studios until the bombing of the city in 1944.

V. Nedkova exhibited portraits, figurative compositions, landscapes, interiors and still lifes, as well as drawings. In her paintings from the 1930s and 1940s, objects, natural sites and human figures, are set in imaginary, secret communication. The plot is discreet ([Three figures in pace, 1928], Praznik [Holiday, 1937] and Ribari [Fishermen, 1943], for example). Her style changed over the years, and from the late 1960s she gradually rejected any narrative possibility (including in her landscapes from the Rhodope Mountains from the 1970s and 1980s and Pred burja [Before the storm, 1982]). Her images are figurative, expressing meeting of naïve expression, German New Objectivity and French poetic reality. In the last years of her artistic career V. Nedkova created compositions at the border of figuration, where colour and light take precedence.

She held solo exhibitions in Sofia, participated in the exhibitions of the Society of New Artists from 1931 to 1943, and in major exhibitions in Bulgaria and abroad. Austrian and Bulgarian press published positive, encouraging reviews for the young artist’s first public presentations. A self-portrait by V. Nedkova was part of the Bulgarian section of the 24th Venice Biennale in 1948. Since the turn of the millennium, posthumous exhibitions have been organised by the National Gallery, Sofia in 2001, 2006 and 2016-2017.
After World War II V. Nedkova worked as a restorer at the National Archaeological Museum (1946-1961). This allowed her an income without having to participate in the exhibitions that at the time were censored by the Communist government.
In her will V. Nedkova, who had no heirs, left her apartment and art collections to the National Gallery in Sofia. Today the House – Museum of Vera Nedkova is open to the public, and her works can also be found in the National Gallery, in the Sofia City Art Gallery, in other public galleries in Bulgaria and in private collections.

Irina Genova

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