March 23, 2010

Alexei Ivanovich Rudov, Home museum of wooden sculptures

all pictures from
the website of the Moscow Museum of Outsider Art

The Moscow Museum of Outsider Art¹ refers on its website to Alexei Ivanovich Rudov, who made an art environment, named the Home Museum of wooden sculptures. The website has no details about this environment.

However, in an interview with James Young, which was published in Raw Vision nr 50 (winter 2005), Anna Yarkina, who at that time was deputy director of the Moscow Museum, gives more information.

Life and works

Alexei Rudov (1926-2002) lived in the city of Kondrovo, in the Kaluga area, south of Moscow. He was a railway worker, who had to quit his job around 1976, when he was 50 years old. His doctor advised him to start some creative activity, probably to prevent that Rudov would become depressive because of being idle.

That was a very good advice. Rudov began making sculptures and experienced this as a very rewarding activity. So he continued making all kind of personalities, using wood and parts of old trees. The sculptures were exposed in the garden around his house. In the 1980s this garden got the character of a museum, that was frequently visited by the local people.

The idea behind the exposition was more educative than artistic. Rudov's primary aim was to teach people to live a good life, so he told the children who visited the garden, how to experience and love beauty and how to be good people.

I understand the garden also had some reputation as an ideal backdrop for making wedding images.

This in short is the story.

No other primary sources or documentation

To my best knowledge, the Moscow Museum is the only primary source on the internet that has information about Rudov's life and works.

The website Atlas Obscura meanwhile (2017) has a number of pictures of the site submitted by its readers. The short accompanying text does not include any new information.

Actual situation of the site unclear

After Rudov died, his son has arranged that a number of his sculptures were donated to the museum in Moscow. These sculptures will be restored and then will be part of the museum's collection.

There is no information about the actual status of the garden. If it is not cared for, there is a danger that it will be vandalized.

¹ Because of financial problems the museum had to close in the course of 2010. Its website is still available on the internet

Alexei Ivanovich Rudov
Home museum of wooden sculptures
Kondrovo, Kaluga region, Russian Federation
actual status unknown

Home museum of wooden sculptures
Kondrovo, Kaluga region, Russian Federation
actual status unknown


  1. I loved the photos, so it's nice that they've come forward somehow... how sad that there's nothing else left of Rudov's scupture park though.

  2. How awful that the place was robbed and vandalized, what a shame it couldn't be protected or preserved in a museum setting...

    But how lucky we are that Henk is there to track these down for us...

    Henk, I hope all is well with you. I've been crazy busy between work and blogging and family and life in general... but it is ALWAYS a pleasure to drop in here and see where you have been digging in the garden of outsider art...

  3. Hi Owen, Somehow for me it is very special that someone in Russia would make a creation like this, keeping in mind the strict way of thinking about art (socialist realism) the communist party has introduced for so many years into society. Also individualistic behaviour was not very much appreciated. So a sculpture garden like this should be very uncommon in the view of authorities, so why would they bother to take care of it?
    I am very well. Spring was here actually last week. Hope you will manage to keep a good balance between all activities in your daily life. Take care!