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Alexandra Mechkuevska

Alexandra Gavrilova Mechkuevska (1907-1993)

Alexandra Gavrilova Mechkuevska was born on 12.10.1907 in Burgas. Her first art teacher was Gencho Mitev, who also had educated prominent artists such as Petko Zadgorski, Mara Tsoncheva and others.
In 1933 Ms. Mechkuevska graduated from the Art Academy in Sofia with two majors: Decorative Art by prof.Nikola Kozhuharov and prof.Haralampi Tachev and Graphic arts by prof.Vasil Zahariev. Alexandra Mechkuevska’s legacy is a mixture of oil painting maritime landscapes and still life with flowers.
In the period 1934-1936 the young female artist participated in numerous exhibitions in Bulgaria. She is among the participants of the first joint art exhibition in Burgas, among the artists are: Petko Zadgorski, Yani Hrisopulos, Radka h.Petrova and others. At that time the city didn’t have a real gallery hall for art exhibitions, so in 1935, the artists combine their efforts for a second joint exhibition displayed in two rooms of the Girls' High School. Withstanding the indifference of the Burgas audience, Mechkuevska was among the participants once again. In this difficult time the city artists were left down by the society and were forced to sell their works at very low price enough to cover the cost of materials.
In 1936 the talented Ms. Mechkuevska set up an exhibition in the hall of Alliance Francaise in Burgas, displaying mostly landscapes from Sozopol, Rila Monastery and the Balkan Mountains. Two years after her graduation from of the Academy of Fine Arts (1935), she made her first solo exhibition in Sofia Art Gallery “Aksakov” in 1936 another solo exhibition followed in Plovdiv. According to connoisseurs, Mechkuevska is an artist who stares with wide open eyes the surrounding nature and finds the beauty inside.
The Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (International Exposition dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life) was held in 1937 in Paris, France and was the world’s largest expo to date. Here, Alexandra Mechkuevska is awarded The Medal of female artists participated in this prestigious exhibition. This recognition opens the world for talented young lady, followed by her international exhibitions in Belgrade (1938), Cairo (1939) and Alexandria (1939).
Soon after her professional successes the love came. During the period 1938-39 Mechkuevska met with the young scientist Michael Venedikov, a descendant of an old, famous Macedonian family Venedikts from the area of Razlog, village Banya. On 1.10.1939 the couple married in Sofia. However the family Venedikovi wasn’t fond of the daughter in law, who was an artist painting all day long instead of doing her housework and the two divorced not long after. In 1942 Alexandra gave her ex-husband a picture with the inscription: "With tears of a huge broken love."
By the end of her life Mechkuevska proffered to be alone. Although she lived in Sofia every summer she would return to her hometown. In 1948 she held her third solo exhibition - this time in Burgas.
In 1978 Mechkuevska was awarded the Order of Cyril and Methodius – 1st class.
She is known as the Bulgarian George Sand. A free and open minded woman for her time, from early spring until late autumn, she lived and worked in Sozopol. At the end of the 80s from the former Sozopol group of artists remains only Alexandra Mechkuevska.
After her death in 1993 Mechkuevska’s paintings have been offered on auctions in Sofia galleries. Today four of her works are owned by the Art Gallery of Burgas Petko Zadgorski: "Watermill", "Sozopol", "Landscape" and "Preparing for fishing".

Krasimira Dubarova
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