A Russian art historian – not the first – wrote to me from Moscow asking me what I thought of Mrs. Railing’s “qualifications” and what was the connection between her production and my work on Malevich and especially of my “Kazimir Malewicz. Catalogue raisonné” of 2002.
While it is not my role to hand out opinions about the qualifications of other persons, I do wish to point out errors of fact or untruths.
Mrs. Railing was indeed my wife from 1971 to 1978. Our marriage broke down to the point that well before our legal separation in the summer of 1978 – as early as 1976 – I got her to return the keys to my office, which was in any case, separate from our marital home.
As a matter of fact, between 1973 and 1977, Railing, an American, translated with my help a number of my articles, a participation I acknowledged each time in writing in the publications concerned. Any other reference to a “collaboration” or to “joint work” with me is pure fiction.
I should specify that she never worked with me on research in the field of art history in general and in particular on Malevich. To begin with, her lack of linguistic knowledge (Russian, German and Polish, which are indispensible in this field) would made this impossible.
Since the summer of 1978 I have been in touch with Mrs. Railing only on matters concerning our children.
In contrast, I wish to make it clear that as early as September 1978, during our initial divorce hearings before the London Court, I expressed my categorical opposition (noted in a court decision) to her bearing or using my name professionally or otherwise. In spite of this legal prohibition, “expertises “ signed “Railing-Nakov” circulated between 1990 and 2010 on a certain low key art market (German, Swiss and other), a practice stopped only by an official legal letter my lawyer sent to the German Auction Society.
The words “former wife” regularly circulated on the art market therefore need to be corrected, for they give the impression that this is a professional reference, which it is not, the divorce proceeding having begun in 1978, forty years ago!
I also wish to point out that I am regularly attacked on the InCoRM website, whose activities Railing manages and with which I have never been directly or indirectly associated. Lastly, some time ago Mrs. Railing has indicated repeatedly on English-language Internet that she participated in my work as a co-author (sic!). This is simply not true.
Finally, I would like to add that I began my work on compiling the Malewicz Catalogue raisonné six months after our legal separation, precisely in February 1979, when the PVA publishing firm in Landau (German Federal Republic) contracted me to undertake this research.