NEW YORK — When Igor Savitsky, a young Russian painter, came to Soviet Uzbekistan in 1931, he fell in love with the rugged beauty of the desert and decided to settle there.
Savitsky soon discovered a coterie of disfavored artists who did not fit in the officially sanctioned style of socialist realism.
The remoteness of the place and the ignorance of the local communist authorities had given them an opportunity to paint without being noticed and punished.
During the following decades Savitsky managed to amass a collection of 40,000 works of Soviet avant-garde art, which has been housed since 1966 in the Nukus Museum Of Art on the fringes of western Uzbekistan.
Now officially known as the Karakalpakstan State Museum Of Art, the Nukus Museum has recently been stripped of one of its two build…