George Costakis is well known as the foremost collector of early 20th Century Russian avant-garde art. The walls of his public housing flat in Moscow are crowded with his rich collection of banned and forgotten works by artists such as Malevich, Tatlin, Kandinsky, Chagall, Lissitzky, Rodchenko, and Kliun. Public figures such as Edward Kennedy, Stravinsky, and Alfred Barr are amongst some of its high profile visitors over the years.
Director Barrie Gavin met the collector in 1982 at his home in Athens where much of this documentary was filmed. Costakis, a Greek born in Russia, passionately shares his story and those of the Russian avant-garde artists whose precious works he so carefully guarded. Their works are his legacy – without him, they would not have survived the political upheavals in Russia which saw many works of art destroyed.
Art Lives, from Arthaus, is a series of compelling documentaries on artists and art movements released for the first time on DVD in the English language.