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 Pyotr Konchalovsky


Born:   21 February 1876
Deceased:   2 February 1956

Russian and Soviet artist, Peoples Artist of RSFSR

      

Pyotr Konchalovsky was born on February 21(9), 1876 in Slavyansk town of the Kharkov Province (now Slavyansk in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine). He finished an art school in Kharkov, and then attended evening courses at the Stroganov Arts and Crafts College. 

He studied in Julian Paris Arts Academy in 1897-1898 and in the art school under the Petersburg Academy of Arts from 1898 to 1905. 

Pyotr Konchalovsky was very well educated, spoke fluent French and had a strong liking of Europe in general. 
 
He was married to the daughter of the well-known artist Vasily Surikov, who influenced Konchalovsky as an artist. It was with Surikov that Konchalovsky for the first time went to Spain for studies from nature and later they painted all around Europe. In the early period of his creativity the artist sought to express the conviviality of color, which is peculiar to Russian folk art, by resorting to Paul Cezanne’s constructibility of colours. 
 
After the October revolution Pyotr Konchalovsky’s manner became more realistic. Lots of his famous works blend riot of colours expressing the joy of living, with dramatism and comicality of a situation, time and a person (for example, portraits of Vsevolod Meyerhold, Alexey Tolstoy, etc). 
 
Konchalovsky painted Meyerhold's portrait, when the stage director was already devoid of his theater by Soviet authorities. At the same time, the artist refused to paint Stalin’s portrait, explaining that he was “a realist” and could not paint portraits from a photo.  However, the artist tried not to clash with the outside world, and expressed his opinions with irony. And yet, his personal exhibition in the USSR took place only after the death of Stalin. 
 
Konchalovsky is also known as a stage designer (one of his best works being Rubenstein’s opera Merchant Kalashnikov) and a graphic artist. His legacy as a painter includes about two thousand canvasses. 
 
Pyotr Konchalovsky got the Stalin Award in 1943, was given the title of the People’s Artist of RSFSR in 1946, and awarded several medals and Order of the Red Banner of Labour. His daughter is Natalya Konchalovskaya, a well-known writer, poetess and translator, the wife of Sergey Mikhalkov and mother of the famous film directors Andron Konchalovsky and Nikita Mikhalkov
 
Pyotr Konchalovsky died on February 2, 1956 in Moscow.


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