ARTISTS : Valko Gaydarov

Valko Gaydarov

1937 – 2009

• Born January 27, 1937 in Devin

• Graduated 1964 in painting at the National Academy of Art in the class of Prof. Nenko Balkanski

• Works in the field of painting

• Works of his are in possession of the National Art Gallery in Sofia and many public and private collections in Bulgaria and abroad

• • •

The Others about Valko Gaydarov

If there is an artist who could metaphorically be named "the bard of the Rhodopes", this is Valko Gaydarov. Having grown up in that unique natural oasis as is the Rhodope mountain range in Southwestern Bulgaria, the artist has devoted a sizeable part of his works to the landscape, in which he strives to poetize his emotions of a painter, provoked by his contact with the nature, which is his permanent source of inspiration.

Valko Gaydarov possesses the ability to grasp and express what is essential, typical of the respective subject or motif by saturating the picture - in spite of its ostentatious simplicity and "drabness" - with a peculiar lyrical mood. The undulating countryside, the woods and trees, the wooden old-time houses, the white walls are presented with much love and warmth. The artist builds the forms and the spatial parts of the scene with harmonious, softened monochromatic tonalities, by means of solidly and categorically applied surfaces and spots which seem to radiate a light, without it being necessary to specifically fix its source.

The artist`s easy and even temperament allows him disclose the fascination and beauty of the Rhodopes by means of the ethical position of a modest artist who admires their magnificence. It is for this reason that the subjects and motifs of the paintings are marked by a manifest poetic sensitiveness, without this to reduce in the least their excellent pictorial merits.

Prof. Chavdar Popov

Valko Gaydarov is one of those masters of landscape who paint not so much Nature herself as the feeling for her soul. There is something of the poetic allegory of the seasons, of the mystery of fairy-tale stories told by the fireplace, of the enticing tenderness of the unmown meadows, of the metaphor of the paths, of the celebration of the light, of the rime on the branches of the trees, of the small houses lost in our prose, of the small silent autumn bays… of our amazing childhood memories and the imagination of wisdom in his paintings. Impression and abstraction meet in there somewhere, attracting the viewers with their comprehensibility and leading them beyond what is visible. His art does not strive to acquaint us with some nature motif or other. That is most often only a pretext. The essence is in the seeking and finding of the colourful expressiveness of the inexplicable moment in which sensitivity merges with the state of Nature. It could be provoked by the silhouette of a rock or a ridge, by the shade of a small bush or the few posts left of a rotten wooden fence, by the little window of a house covered in greenery or the play of the clouds. Each of the uncountable things in Nature could lead him towards the sacrament of its recreation in painting. If it needs to be ethereal, it is embodied in aquarelle, if it seeks solidity; it leads his hand to the oil-paint palette. All that is needed is that his heart and imagination should want that. That is why his hundreds of paintings of the universe called the Rhodope Mountains came into being, and also the Toledo paintings exhibited next to them, and the paintings of the English coast, of the narrow streets of Athens, of the fields of Thrace. What is notable about Valko Gaydarov is his ability to discover the intrinsic beauty of what his eyes fall upon and his talent to give it a visible expression. The charm of his pictures comes from the richness of nuances in his painting, of the especial harmony of colour and shape, of the intrinsic light and the natural effect on the viewers of things that otherwise do not exist. His landscapes are attractive for their intimacy and warmth. They are an emanation of the heart and soul of a person for whom painting is a way of life and the truest form of the sharing of love.

Four decades dedicated to the foundation and gathering of the collection of the Art Gallery of Smolyan, more than thirty one-man exhibitions and hundreds of paintings in Bulgaria and abroad stand behind the popularity of the artist Valko Gaydarov. In other words, he has his own place of merit among the undisputable masters of landscape in the modern Bulgarian painting.

Marin Dobrev, PhD

As we are busy racing with the market, fashion, chaos and confusion in life and our souls, we seem to remember less and less often tat there are things which are measured not in comparison with the hits of the day, but in simpler yet more lasting measures – the quality of the human spirit, the depth of the human experiences and, of course, their new plastic meaning in the life of art. If we add to that his natural feeling for Nature’s soul, maybe we will understand the deep meaning of those simple and pure emotions with which Valko Gaydarov seeks his unprejudiced viewer.

This exhibition does not startle and shock the viewer, does not rely on sensational effects, but instead touches that fine chords of the human soul, in which man and Nature live in that pantheistic harmony which turns a painting into the spirit’s own universe.

The main motif with Valko Gaydarov is indicative not so much of the outer beauty and majestic power of the Rhodope Mountains, as of that richness and variety which only the richness and variety of human emotion can give. Tender and harsh, silvery-grey, fiery-red or saturated and deep as the night, each painting was carried with much love in the artist’s soul before it became an actual picture. In a few words – his art is most of all sincerity in front of Nature, simplicity in its artistic recreation and, of course, a sense of its movement in time – not so much as the change of seasons as the sense of change, richness and variety in the state of each painting.

In these hard times, Valko Gaydarov’s exhibition returns us to those simple and beautiful emotions which only the miracle called Nature can give us. Among so many things that divide us and provoke conflicts among us, one artist gathers us together with his truths. They are good and beautiful because they were born of the heart of Nature. And that heart never lies. I thank with all my heart to Valko Gaydarov for preserving that in his paintings.

Prof. Svetlin Rusev
Address at the opening of the anniversary exhibition
- Shipka 6 Gallery, Sofia - 1998

... Today he performs is as fully and brightly as never before, and what is more, he shows himself in the best light and in a process of creative absorption that we can only admire. His exhibition is charged with the beautiful feelings crystallized under the influence of rich creative contacts with the people, with their life, with the problems of renovating processes in art, with nature. His favourite views of the Rhodope Mountains, where he was born and grew up, are lightened not only by the delicate play of clear tones, but also by a sense of admiration– I would say admiration of those aesthetic transformations of the mountains, the houses, the trees and the people, through which art has been and will always be a higher reality.

It is obvious that Valko Gaydarov remembers the wise words of his teacher Nenko Balkansky that painting should be first of all a translation of psychological values and then technique, personal manner, etc. That is why he personalizes or psychologizes everything – so to say the whole universe in which he lives. That is why that universe with beautiful mountains and skies, with picturesque architecture and nuanced colour clothing is so enticing. Or so charming.

Valko Gaydarov graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1964. His first steps as an artist coincided with a process of seeking and reassessments that was crucial for the formation of the new Bulgarian art. Those seeking and reassessments entwined with his personal fate too. The good thing was that he did not allow them to interfere with his own deepest sensations – which means his own artistic nature. Maybe in this sense he adhered to Balkansky’s words that art is born of love, inspiration and compassion to people and not of luxury magazines with colour reproductions and pseudo- avant-garde snobbish admirations. Today Valko Gaydarov offers us to see oil paintings, aquarelles and drawings. It seems to me that he is equally good in all three spheres – equally delicate, precise and poetic. It is enough for us to compare his Amsterdam aquarelles with the Bulgarian Rhodope house and the solitary figure in front of it to make sure of that. Some of those works were painted in Amsterdam or Toledo (or after sketches made there). They do not differ in their spirit from those dedicated to the Rhodope Mountains, and I mean this as a compliment. Because only a mature artist can be so free of the outside curious, chattering or sensational appearance of foreign nature and architecture and seek in them the quality that makes them romantic landscapes, beautiful rhythms, complex states, etc., to seek what he thinks is essential and unifying for the spiritual communication among people. I do not want to use comparisons, but I think that they show themselves in the results that we see in front of us. They place Valko Gaydarov among the best painters of his generation.

Prof. Dr. Atanas Bozhkov

... Valko Gaydarov’s landscapes are not superficial or momentary impressions, but lasting states of the soul, experienced deeply and sincerely. They are a kind of spiritual confession to himself and those who are sensitive enough to understand it.

Prof. Vera Dinova-Ruseva

... Valko Gaydarov wields the technique of the aquarelle, knows hiss potential and uses it with the ease of a master for whom they are the means of devoting himself to that passion in which harmony is born out of the chaos. His works are not documentary memories of his meetings with Nature, but a search of the magic that has attracted him. They are the painting rhyming of the feelings, music and poetry, of what is absorbed by the human senses, and love has made it ethereal. They are about finding the visible image of what is invisible, to capture the vibration of the air, the warmth of the sun, the moisture, finding in the tide of the colours what moved your heart and keeping it forever.

Valko Gaydarov’s aquarelles are a wonderful illustration of Baudelaire’s definition, “The landscape – this is imagination.” They show not only a rich spiritual world, but also the gift to turn this inner world into a passionate allegory of beauty which he dedicates to the people.

Marin Dobrev, PhD

Valko Gaydarov belongs to the now rare type of artists who instinctively and consciously, with a feeling and with reason express in their paintings the poetry of nature. His pictures that lead our eyes to what is seemingly familiar, but in reality unknown in nature, in the simple objects, in the real space and our movements inside and among them, and the illusion of familiarization, turn into knowledge and experience… These small frames filled with painting come to life, entice us inside them, lead us outside our everyday life, and draw us near to the state of insight because the destiny and work of a sensitive creative personality meet in them

Dimitar Grozdanov - art critic

... The soft curves of the mountain, the modest beauty of the traditional Rhodope architecture, the delicate effect of the colours, the entire emanation of the natural environment models the aesthetic feeling of the painter – determines the specifics of his artistic language. This kind of painting is identical with the inner world of the artist – modest, delicate and dedicated.

Dr. Elena Popova - art critic

... After passing through the years under the enchanting magic of the silvery Spanish colour ranges, Gaydarov’s painting reaches new landmarks within its own dimensions. The sunshine and the softness of the shadowy depths in the muted colour ranges of the landscapes form a new relationship between the artist and the viewer. A master of spiritual insight and rising of the human emotions high into the painting musical ranges that he creates, the artist offers a pleasure and an excitement to the senses.

Svetla Moskova - art critic

Valko Gaydarov : Works



A solitary Coast


A solitary Strand






Autumn path






Blue Sky


Coast - Cyprus

One-man exhibitions

1969 - Smolyan Art Gallery
1980 - Sofia, Ruski 6 Gallery
1983 - Smolyan Art Gallery
1986 - Smolyan Art Gallery
1986 - Stara Zagora Art Gallery
1987 - Sofia, Rakovski 125 Gallery
1988 - Pazardzhik Art Gallery
1988 - Paphos - Cyprus
1990 - Smolyan Art Gallery
1991 - Madrid - Spain
1993 - Sofia, Gallery "M"
1994 - Plovdiv, State Art Gallery
1995 - Sofia, Lesedra Gallery
1997 - Smolyan
1998 - Sofia, Shipka 6
1998 - Sofia, Tatiart Gallery
1999 - Paphos - Cyprus
1999 - Larnaca - Cyprus
2000 - Plovdiv, Dyakov Gallery
2001 - Sofia, Alexander Gallery
2003 - Sofia, Apollon and Mercurius Gallery

Participations in representative exhibitions of Bulgarian art

1974 - Czechoslovakia
1975 - Poland
1985 - Germany
1990 - England
1990 - Greece
1991 - Vl-th International Arts Fair in Olympia Hall, London
1992 - Spain
1993 - Japan, Tokio - 50 Bulgarian Painters



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