Asen Popov

Asen Popov Rusev was born on January 24, 1895 in the village of Pordim, Pleven district. He died on March 6, 1976 in Sofia. In 1914 he began studying Painting at the Art Industrial School (today NHA) in the class of Prof. Petko Klisurov, in 1920 he transferred to Leningrad in the class of Prof. Osip E. Braz. He returned to Bulgaria and in 1922 graduated from the Art Academy in the class of Prof. Nikola Ganushev.

In 1925, he began working as a scenographer in theaters outside the capital. In the Varna Municipal Theater, he created the sequels to "The Hamman of Bagdad" by J. Lometre, "The Enchantress" by Spazhinski, "Therese Raken" by Emile Zola (1925). At that time, the conjuncture in the country was painted decor. Asen Popov opposes this and works on creating a voluminous decor. His scenographies are based on the unity of the three-dimensional actor's figure and its surrounding stage environment. In 1936, he created scenography for Julius Caesar based on Shakespeare. 

In the 20s, Asen Popov abandoned the picturesque treatment of the stage space and accepted the constructive solution. In 1932, he began working to the National Theater in Sofia, where he developed an active scenographic activity.
Here he achieves the most interesting scenographic solutions of classical scenes: "Elenovo tsarsvo" - G. Raichev "St. Joanna"¬B. Shaw, "Hamlet" - Shakespeare (1934 and 1942), "The Most Important" - N.I. Ev¬reinov (1936), "Before Sunrise" ("Kara Ta-,nas") - St. Savov (1936), "The Golden Dagger" - P. Appel, after the Japanese poet Izumo (1943), "The Virgin of Orleans" - Fr. Schiller (1943), Asen Popov is also a set designer of the National Opera, showing a lively feeling for the music, for which he is looking for an expressive scenographic equivalent: "The Girl from the Golden West" - Puccini (1939), "Fidelio" - Ludwig van Beethoven (1941). "Orpheus" - Gluck (1942), "Kidnapping from the barn" - Mozart (1942), "Gypsy Baron" - Kalman (1938). Among the scenographic layouts created for operetta productions, the one for "Lysistrata" at the Odeon theater (1940) stands out with particular merit.

He also made many productions after September 9, easily accepting the requirements for socialist realism.
The most innovative is the decor of "Young Guard" - according to A. A. Fadeev (1947), where he creates an expressive, conditional decor with a romantic elevated plastic recreation of the ideological content.
Asen Popov creates graphics, paintings and drawings.

At first he painted Secession, and after September 9, in order to avoid socialist realism, he began to make mainly landscapes and portraits in a naturalistic and realistic style. ("The church in the village of Slavyanovo, Plevensko", "My mother", "The wife of the artist Todora Popova, "My father", "Shepherd") His painterly feeling and talent are evident in them.