Nahum Tschacbasov was born in Baku, in the southeast of Russia. When he was eight years old, he came to America, where his family settled in Chicago.

His career, spanning more than five decades from the 1930’s to the 1980’s, is a kaleidoscope of influences, from modernism to the Byzantine style and expressionism of his Russian roots.

Tschacbasov’s paintings of the 1930’s reflect the social and political preoccupations of the times. He received considerable critical attention for his powerful dramatic satirical depiction of social injustice.

In the 1940’s he gained wider recognition when his style evolved into a fusion of Cubism and Surrealism. Through the influence of Jung, as well as currents brought to America by the newly arrived group of European Surrealists, he created a powerful personal iconography in which the inner workings of the psyche are revealed as myth and metaphor. The multiplicity of images that emerge at this time: stars, moons, birds, boats, are at once personal and universal. Every painting is a landscape. There are horizon lines and tiny celestial bodies. The painter has presented man within his universe.  

Tschacbasov’s paintings from the late 1950’s until his death are the freshest and most exciting part of his long career. His work becomes not only unique but also prescient, out of step with the surrounding art world, visually more exciting and thematically both more immediate and more charged. He believed that the role of the artist was to bring together the spiritual forces of the past, and his paintings document this goal.

Tschacbasov is that truly rare find an overlooked dynamo worthy of a closer examination and another decade of exhibitions.