Petr Petrovich Konchalovsky (born February 9, 1876 – died February 2, 1956) was a bright and extraordinary artist and graphic artist of the 20th century, who worked in avant-garde, primitivism, fauvism and socialist realism. Pyotr Konchalovsky created about two thousand portraits, landscapes, still lifes and paintings of everyday life. The fruits of the creativity of the Russian and Soviet painter earned recognition of the general public during the lifetime of the author.
Biography of Pyotr Petrovich Konchalovsky
Pyotr Konchalovsky comes from an intelligent family with noble roots. Born on February 9, 1876 in a small provincial town Slavyansk, Kharkov province. He mastered the basics of drawing in Kharkov in a private institution of Raevskaya-Ivanova and in Moscow, attending evening classes at the Stroganov School. Passion for painting brought the young man to experienced masters – Repin, Surikov, Vrubel, Vasnetsov and Levitan.
Pyotr Konchalovsky, at the insistence of his father, became a student at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Moscow University. But he soon dropped out and went to study art at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he finally realized that he wanted to devote his life to painting. Upon returning home, he entered the St. Petersburg Academy, came out with the title of artist for the work “Fishermen pull the nets” (he destroyed it in 1935) and signed up for private lessons in the studio of Konstantin Korovin. And then he went to Paris again.
In France, he fell under the influence of post-impressionism.
Vincent van Gogh made a special impression on Pyotr Konchalovsky, whose works helped him completely rethink his own philosophy. Konchalovsky tried himself in different directions and used unexpected colors and shapes. Looking closely at the works of the master created during these years, you can also find similarities with the work of Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne.
In the early 1900s, Pyotr Konchalovsky started a family by marrying Surikov’s daughter. His wife accompanied him on all his trips to Europe and Russia, they often traveled with Vasily Surikov. We visited Italy, Spain, Germany, Siberia and the Far North of Russia.
In 1910 the Konchalovskys settled in Moscow. Petr Petrovich spent a lot of time in the studio, plunged into the creative life of the city and, in company with his fellow brushworkers, founded the “Jack of Diamonds” association. The group members openly neglected the canons of traditional painting, focusing on Cubism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism. It was during this period that he finally developed an individual style – a kind of mixture of Russian primitivism and Fauvism.
Gradually, Pyotr Konchalovsky moved from primitive forms to more complex compositions.
He mastered new drawing techniques, remaining a passionate admirer of Cézanne and returning to his techniques over and over again. He was even called the “Russian Cezanne”. But he did not blindly copy Cezanne’s style of performance, but improvised with color, content and meaning. His paintings breathe vitality and glow with health.
In the First World War, Konchalovsky was called up to serve as an officer-artilleryman, and in 1915 he received a shell shock, after which he was evacuated to the rear. The war did not interfere with creativity – he took part in numerous exhibitions, joined the “World of Art”. After the revolution, he refused to emigrate and stayed in Russia, moved away from experimental painting to socialist realism, took up teaching and administrative activities.
Pyotr Konchalovsky enjoyed unconditional authority among his Soviet colleagues and respect from the authorities. He stood aloof from politics, he was not harassed, he was not interfered with in choosing topics, and he was not told in what genre to write. People’s Artist of the Russian Federation and laureate of the Stalin Prize lived to see venerable years and died on February 2, 1956.