Local art collector Ron Pollard to discuss a trove of questionable Russian avant-garde works

When art collecting brothers Ron and Roger Pollard purchased a handful of paintings at an online auction in 2004, they had no idea what they were in for. The pieces, bought from a seller in Germany, were done in the style of an early-twentieth-century art movement known as Russian avant-garde, but their origins couldn't be authenticated.

The purchase would begin a decade-long pursuit for verification and information on these suspected great works. Tomorrow evening, mid-century-modern furniture store Mod Livin' presents "Lost Works From Behind the Iron Curtain," a conversation with Ron Pollard about this great collection and his ongoing art-fact journey.

See also: From Russia With Doubt: Adam Lerner discusses the risky exhibition of unverified art

Though the story of the origin of these paintings is still very much a mystery, the Pollard brothers have spent years working with forensics experts, the FBI, appraisers and other art collectors to find out more about the body of work. Now working with 180 pieces in this particular collection, there is still a lot that is unknown, but Pollard has decided to take this moment to fill people in on the adventure so far.

"I'll get a little more in-depth about the story of the paintings in terms of my brother and I and the whole event and how it played out over the years," says Pollard of the evening's discussion. Whether or not the pieces are authentic isn't so much of a concern for Pollard; he says that as an art collector and an artist himself, he was just attracted to the work. "The paintings were amazing."

In 2010, the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art exhibited the collection, even though the work had not been proven to be original to the Russian Revolution-era timeframe. MCA Director Adam Lerner released From Russia With Doubt, a book about his own experience of taking a chance on exhibiting unverified works of art.

"The book was based on an interview Adam did with us that was an hour long, probably four or five years ago -- so there's been a lot going on since then," says Pollard. New things have been learned and there have been several weird turns of events.

Pollard shares that while the paintings are currently in storage, he will most likely bring one to the event for curious folks to see. Also, Mod Livin' will be displaying concrete relief versions of one of the works that will be available for purchase.

"Lost Works from Behind the Iron Curtain," with Ron Pollard goes down this Thursday, June 26, with an opening reception at 6:30 p.m. and discussion beginning at 7 p.m. at Mod Livin'. RSVP is not required but appreciated and can be done by calling 720-941-9292 or sending an e-mail to [email protected] For more information, visit the store's website.

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Bree Davies is a multimedia journalist, artist advocate and community organizer born and raised in Denver. Rooted in the world of Do-It-Yourself arts and music, Davies co-founded Titwrench experimental music festival, is host of the local music and comedy show Sounds on 29th on CPT12 Colorado Public Television and is creator and host of the civic and social issue-focused podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? Her work is centered on a passionate advocacy for all ages, accessible, inclusive, non-commercial and autonomous DIY art spaces and music venues in Denver.
Contact: Bree Davies