Enver-Fahri Kutub-zade. Rediscovered artist


Crimean Tatar artists of the pre-war period usually had rather complicated and tragic fates. Most of them were representatives of ordinary families. Even after getting professional art education abroad and being noticed on the Crimean and All-Union Exhibitions, most of them couldn’t work as artists. Some of them became the victims of repressions before the war started (A. Abiyev, O. Aqchoqraqli, U, Bodaninskiy), a certain portion of them died during the war (E. Alimov, T. Afuzov), the rest were lost because of the deportation. 

Thinking about this layer of the Crimean Tatar art, unwittingly you wonder: «What if..?» Alas, the history does not answer the questions with «if». 

Nevertheless, all the works made during these years of researches show the art of high samples, integrity, content. One of the old representatives of this kind of art is graphic, aquarist, fabric artist Enver-Fahri Kutub-zade. He was born on 25 February 1911. Rediscovering the painter is a responsible and sad thing. It is sad because you realize the amount of all those talented masters whose names are almost forgotten because of the inertia, the general slowness and even laziness that results in the loss of the miraculous works of art. And you can realize all the responsibility because you are participating in enriching the idea of Crimean Tatar art and reconstruction of the historical and cultural justice.

There were four of them in the family: the oldest sister Shefika and three brothers: Vebi, Kenan, and Enver-Fahri. Father’s name was Abdureim (he was from Yevpatoriya; the photo is given); the mother’s name was Zemine (from Bakhchisaray). In 1906 all the family moved from Turkey to Crimea and started living in Bakhchisaray, later in Demerdzhi. The mother dies when Fahri was only 9 month and his father married one more time. Stepmother’s name was Fatma. She gave birth to two children.

Memories of Ismet Koutub-zade, nephew of the artist: “Our grandfather Abdureim had a great memory and knew the entire Qur’an. When the village’s mollah was arrested by the Extraordinary Commission, grandfather was asked to take his place. So much all the villagers trusted and respected him. Abdureim worked together with Gasprinskiy in the “Terciman” newspaper (the information should be examined – note of Sh. K.). 

“Terciman” – it was a newspaper had been publishing in 1883-1918 years in Bakhchisaray. It was a printing addition of the Turkic population of the Russian Empire.

Abdureim Kutub-zade was deported to Tambov (the concrete date is unknown – note of Sh. K.). Later, Abdureim left his children with the wife and in a clandestine manner escaped to Romanian Dobruja where his sister was living. 

Dobruja – is a historical area of the North of the Balkan Peninsular on the territory of modern Romania and Bulgaria. At the end of the 19th – the beginning of the 20th centuries strategically located near the Danube Delta, became a territory of serious debates between the Russian and the Ottoman Empires, Romania, and Bulgaria. 

Abdureim’s sister was an owner of a shoe repair shop in Dobruja. After her husband’s death, Abdureim was offered to lead it. Later, Enver-Fahri’s father moved to Turkey. 

The last memory of Abdureim Kutub-zade connected with 1942 when he sent a messenger to his daughter Shefika and younger children to Crimea and offered her to move to Turkey. The family refused. So his further fate is unknown. 

Enver-Fahri lived in a children’s home until the age of 18. In 1928 he graduated Bakhchisaray artistic and industrial college. There is a possibility that one of his teachers was an outstanding watercolorist of that time Vladimir Konstantinovich Yanovskiy. Kutub-zade’s daughter was keeping his landscape – it was present to Enver-Fahri. And in the family album, there was a photograph of Vladimir Janovsky.

Vladimir Konstantinovich Yanovskiy (1876-1966) – Russian and Soviet watercolorist and graphicer. Honored Artist of USSR (1957). In 1900-1927 lived and worked in Yalta. Since 1927 – in Bakhchisaray. Here the artist spent 41 years of his life and presented to his beloved city 97 pictures. Nowadays they are kept in the funds of the Bakhchisaray historical and cultural sanctuary. 

The elder brother Kenan also was studying in Bakhchisaray artistic and industrial college from 1920 up to 1925. According to the words of Ismet Kutub-zade, his father couldn’t draw despite the graduation of the polygraphy department. Kenan Kutub-zade became a world-famous cameraman. The pictures shot by Kutub-zade together with front-line cinematographers M. Oshurkov, N. Bikov, Pavlov and A. Vorontsov were used in the documentary called “Auschwitz” (1945). Besides that, pictures shot by Kutub-zade and other cinematographers of the Central Documentary Film House became the basis for the charge against Nazi criminals in the Nuremberg trial.

For the courage and bravery shown, he was rewarded by the Order of the Patriotic War II and the Order of the Red Star. For his many years of service rewarded by theOrder “The Badge of Honour. Kenan Kutub-zade died on the 22d of February 1981 in Rostov-on-Done. On the 11th of October 2018 in Yalta, at the Yalta Film Studio, the memorial board of Kenan Kutub-zade was opened. His son Ismet followed in the steps of his father and had been working as a cinematographer for a long time. After the graduation of the college, Enver-Fahri came to Moscow and here he stayed and worked in Volokolamsk. 

Volokolamsk – it’s a city of regional subordination in Moscow oblast in Russia, the administrative center of Volokolamsk city district. The population of it is 19162 people (2019). 

Enver-Fahri had worked on the weaving mill all his life: firstly as an ordinary artist, then as a workshop manager, then as a main painter of the factory (a photo is attached). In 1930 the painter married Mironova Klavdiya Vasilyevna who worked as a librarian. Four years later their daughter Nelya was born. After that Valentina was born but she died a year later. In 1948 one more daughter was born and she also got the name Valentina. Thanks to her in 2020 this article appeared (a photo is attached). 

In 1968 Valentina Kutub-zade graduated the Moscow art and industry school named M. I. Kalinin. Since 1968 had been working in carpet sketches. She is a member of the Artists Union(1975), a member of the union of designers (1980). Her works were used as scenery for films by such filmmakers as A. Rou, S. Gerasimov, L. Kulidzhanov. Now she lives in Moscow. 

Enver Kutub-zade didn’t participate in World War II because of some problems with his sight. All that time he was working on the factory near Gorkiy city. According to the words of his relatives, Enver Fahri-zade always was carrying an album for sketches and was fond of the plein-air painting. He was a watercolorist and a painter a little bit. Nearly thirty pictures of landscapes preserved demonstrate Kutub-zade’s skill and even artistry of his technique (the photo is attached). 

Enver-Fahry seldom could participate in some exhibitions, only in city ones. He thought that it was just his hobby. He loved Crimea and read newspapers being interested in Crimea’s events. He never showed his real feelings and was hiding his offense connected with the deportation. 

Valentina Kutub-zade:

“My father had never complained about his health. On the 20th of July 1974 together with his friends went to the forest for berries. But nobody noticed that sometime later Fedor Ivanovich (it was how everybody called father in Volokolamsk) disappeared. He was found under the birch. He got a massive heart attack and immediately died”. 

People in Volokolamsk still remember Enver-Fahri and show the House of Culture where he planted a garden. 

The author of the article wants to thank the art scholar, honored artist of ARK Elmira Cherkezova, Merited Artist of Russia Aleksandr Popov, Valentina Kutub-zade, Ismet Kutub-zade. All of them helped a lot during writing this article. 

In Valentina Kutub-zade’s flashbacks, there was the name of Osman Kasabov, a watercolorist. Her father was studying with him in Bakhchisaray. Some years ago Enver-Fahri Kutub-zade visited Osman Kasabov in Sukhumi (the photo is attached) where he was working as a taxi-driver. Maby it will help to discover more interesting information. 


Author: Редакция Avdet