From April 8, 2024 art connoisseurs, citizens and guests of our city can see the graphics and drawings presented in the exhibition “Anniversaries” from the collection of Dobrich Art Gallery. The exhibition, which the gallery team presents in Hall 2, includes 23 graphic works by four artists with different pictorial principles and aesthetics – Zafir Yonchev, Atanas Neykov, Lyubomir Yordanov and Georgi Penchev, whose anniversaries we celebrate this year. The selection traces the processes and trends in graphic art in the 60s, 70s and 80s of the 20th century – the period in which the works from the Graphic fund presented in the exhibition were created, drawing the viewer’s attention to the artistic environment that formed the creative individuality of each of the authors.

ZAFIR YONCHEV (1924 – 2006)

Born on February 10, 1924 in Samokov. His childhood was spent amidst the lakes and peaks of Rila mountain, as well as in the hamlet of Kriskar, where the pseudonym of his father – the artist Hristo Yonchev – comes from. His artistic work was inspired by Bulgarian history and the patriarchal life of Samokov in the past. Having passed through the academic schooling the artist returned to the discoveries of the old masters and grew up as a connoisseur of the traditional Bulgarian graphic techniques. His ancestors are among the most famous families of Samokov, from which he has inherited the Renaissance spirit and it did not leave him until his last breath on December 14, 2006.

Zafir Yonchev or Zefo, as he was called in his hometown, is the living link between the high impulses of the Renaissance, whose center is Samokov, and contemporary art. In 1953, he graduated from the National Academy of Arts under Prof. Veselin Staykov, in “Graphics” Department and became a member of the Union of Artists. From 1954 to 1972 he was a teacher, umdrucker /typographer/ at the National Academy of Arts and Secretary of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. In 1973, he established the Graphics Base in Samokov.

“Zafir Yonchev invented the modern iconography on Renaissance theme. To the merits of his art should be added technical perfection and conscientiousness – lessons got also from the school of printmakers.” (Bisera Yosifova)

ATANAS NEYKOV (1924 – 2003)

Born on May 30, 1924 in Sofia. Studied and graduated from the Italian Royal College. In 1948 graduated from the National Academy of Arts in “Decorative Art” under prof. Kiril Tzonev and “Painting” under prof. Dechko Uzunova.

Worked in the field of graphics, special design, industrial design of crystal glass. He was a designer for Grazzi Cristali, Modena, Italy – a leading company in the design and construction of structures and furniture made of crystal glass, which also realized the “Pompidou” Center and the Louvre in Paris.

Organized personal exhibitions in Berlin, Krakov, Milano, Brussels, Paris, Modena, Bologna, Capri, Parma, Helsinki, Verona.

He designed the spatial layouts of the National History Museum – Sofia, the Gallery of Foreign Art together with Svetlin Rusev, the house-museums of Dechko Uzunov and Nenko Balkanski in Kazanlak, art galleries, among which is the Art Gallery in Dobrich.

Founder and secretary of the “Graphics” Section at UBA, long-time director of the City Art Gallery and director of the National Gallery of Foreign Art.

“…the modern artist could hardly be sincere if his speech does not carry the knowledge of everything that is experience of the plastic language of our time.” (A. Neykov)


Born on July 18, 1934 in Burgas. He was a descendant of a family that has given some of the last Renaissance and post-liberation painters. As a schoolboy, together with his father, he participated in plain-airs and studied nature. Their home was often visited by artists such as Boris Denev, Mario Zhekov, Preslav Kurshovski, Alexander Mutafov and others. In 1953, he was admitted to the National Academy of Arts, majoring in “Scenography” under prof. Ivan Penkov. In 1960 he specialized in graphics at “Intergrafik”, Germany.

He was an active participant in the theatre life in Sofia and made the scenography of a number of successful productions in the National Theatre. In 1961, he joined the Bulgarian National Television as chief artist. His name is associated with the beginning of television scenography and over a period of 32 years he realized more than 1000 productions. Since 1965, he has participated in all national and international forums in his field, and presented personal exhibitions abroad – Siena, Berlin, Avignon, Vienna, Leverkusen, Madrid, Rome.

He taught graphic techniques in the graphics studio at the “Illustration” Department at the NAA in Sofia. Member of the UBA “Graphics” Section committee and of the State Commission for Spatial Layout, Design and Graphics.

“…The themes in the lithographs are refracted through the graphic expression he made, already in the 1970s, characterized by a particular stylization of the forms, flexible lines with elements of arabesque, broken rhythms and colorful saturation, challenging towards the dominant in these decades traditional black and white graphics.” (Aksinia Dzhurova)

GEORGI PENCHEV (1924 – 2014)

Georgi Penchev was born on April 27, 1924 in Sliven. During his school years he discovered the pleasure of drawing and experimented with different techniques and means in the fine arts. His first personal exhibition was in 1942 in “Zora” – a local community center’s hall.

In 1946 Georgi Penchev was admitted in the National Academy of Arts in Sofia, “Painting” Department under professors Dechko Uzunov and Iliya Petrov. After his graduation in 1951 he turned to the design of books and magazines, to black and color graphics, etching and longitudinal wood engraving. His personal contacts with older artists as Petar Mladenov, Vassil Barakov, Tzanko Lavrenov, Boris Angelushev, Dimitar Gyudzhenov, and the younger artists of his generation – Metodi Mitev, Ivan Milanov, Kiril Lazarov, Atanas Raykov, Dimitar Kovachev, Boris Nenov, Ivan Kirkov, Dimitar Kazakov and Genko Genkov – played a significant role in the formation of his bright artistic style.

“It’s good when the work feels like a sincere sharing, like a whisper or a confession. Then we say that we understand the artist…” (Georgi Penchev)

“The artistic biography of Georgi Penchev is primarily related to graphics. He was fascinated by metal engraving and wood engraving. The artist is particularly impressed by the absorbency of the wood, its warmth and softening of the sharp edge. His prints differ significantly from traditional wood engraving, especially when he introduces color as a component in printing.” (Violeta Todorova)


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