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 Konstantin Somov


Born:   November 30, 1869
Deceased:   May 6, 1939

Russian painter and graphic artist, portrait and landscape master, illustrator, one of the founders of the World of Art associat

      

Konstantin Andreevich Somov was born into the family of a famous museum figure, the Hermitage custodian Andrey Somov. His mother Nadezhda Konstantinovna (nee Lobanova) was a good musician and a well educated person.
Konstantin Somov studied at Karl May School in 1879 — 1888 and in the Petersburg Academy of Arts from September, 1888 to March, 1897. From October 1984 he studied in the course taught by Ilya Repin. In 1894 he had his works exhibited for the first time: it was an exhibition of the Russian Aquarellists Society. Konstantin Somov studied in the olarossi Academy in Paris in 1897 and 1898. The artist lived in St. Petersburg from 1899.
Konstantin Somov took most active part in designing the World of Art journal as well as the periodical Art Treasures of Russia (1901 — 1907). Besides, he illustrated Count Nulin (1899) by Alexander Pushkin, The Nose and Nevsky Avenue (1901) by Nikolay Gogol and designed book covers for poetic collections, such as The Firebird. The Slav's Pipe by Konstantin Balmont, Cor Ardens by Vyacheslav Ivanov, The Theatre by Alexander Blok, etc.
The first personal art exhibition (162 paintings, sketches and drawings) of Konstantin Somov took place in St. Petersburg in 1903. Same year 95 works by him were exhibited in Hamburg and Berlin. In 1905 he started contributing for the Golden Fleece log.
 
Along with landscape and portrait painting and graphic art Konstantin Somov worked in the field of miniature sculpture and created refined porcelain compositions Count Nulin (1899), The Enamoured (1905), etc.
 
In January, 1914 Konstantin Somov became a full member of the Arts Academy.
 
In 1918 the Golik and Vilborg publishing house (St. Petersburg) published The Book of the Marchioness (Le livre de la Marquise), the most famous and unabridged edition with erotic illustrations by Konstantin Somov. The artist did not only create all the elements of the book design, but also selected appropriate texts in French. There is a rare version of this edition, the so-called Big Book of the Marchioness supplemented with even more frivolous illustrations.
 
He became a professor of the Petrograd State Art Studios in 1918 and worked at Elizaveta Zvantseva’s school. The year 1919 saw his jubilee personal exhibition in the Tretyakov Gallery. 
 
Konstantin Somov went to America as the representative of The Russian Exhibition in 1923. His 38 works took part in an exhibition in New York in January, 1924. He never returned to Russia. The artist stayed in France from 1925 and purchased an apartment in Paris in January, 1928.
 
Konstantin Somov suddenly died in Paris on May 6, 1939. He was laid to rest at the cemetery of Sainte-Geneviuve-des-Bois.

 


Tags: Konstantin Somov Russian painters    




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