Yuri Pavlovich Annenkov (Yury Pavlovich Annenkov; born July 23, 1889 – died July 12, 1974) was a famous Russian avant-garde artist of the 20th century, a graphic artist and painter, a brilliant master of portraiture and landscapes with elements of cubism. The work of Yuri Annenkov reflects the great freedom and ease of the master, filled with improvisation and graceful plastic solutions. His paintings are executed in a peculiar decorative-planar manner of pictorial abstraction, with an amazing combination of color spots and clear outlines. Insightful graphic drawings convey the essence or portrait likeness, even with a minimum of lines and the absence of individual parts.
Biography of Yuri Annenkov
Yuri Annenkov was born on June 23, 1889 in Petropavlovsk, Tobolsk province, where his father, a member of the revolutionary organization “Narodnaya Volya”, was in exile. At the age of five, he returned to St. Petersburg with his parents, which became his second homeland.
As a child, Yuri Annenkov spent a lot of time at his dacha in the Finnish village of Kuokkala. Here, in the circle of the artistic intelligentsia, a fateful meeting with Ilya Repin and Korney Chukovsky takes place. The first will strengthen the young man’s desire to become an artist, the second, being an influential person, after a few years will provide significant patronage.
After graduating from high school in 1908, Yuri Annenkov is still at a crossroads and, at the insistence of his father, enters the law faculty of St. Petersburg University. But in the same year he began to study in parallel at the private art studio of Jan Frantsevich Tsionglinsky, one of the first Russian impressionists.
Under the influence of Tsionglinsky, Yuri is fond of new French painting.
In his early works, blue-violet shadows, the effects of a light-air environment, the desire to capture the momentary moment, the brilliance and beauty of winter nature are traced.
In 1909, Annenkov tried to enter the Academy of Arts, but failed his exams. Tsionglinsky advises to continue studying with the masters of painting in Paris. Following the teacher’s recommendation, in 1911 Yuri Annenkov went to the capital of France, where he attended classes in art schools, took lessons from Felix Vallotton and Maurice Denis.
Two years later, Annenkov returned to St. Petersburg, but already as a completely different artist, far from the outdated trends of the Impressionists. Now in his work there is a synthesis of cubism and realism. The young man experiments a lot, finds interesting stylistic solutions. His paintings, like patterns in a kaleidoscope, are assembled from geometric shapes of different colors and shades.
Carried away by graphics, Yuri Pavlovich works a lot and hard.
Draws illustrations for periodicals and books. Paints portraits of famous people. The revolution of 1917 is well received. Becomes friends with top-level revolutionaries, becomes the most demanded and expensive artist in Soviet Russia. Works fruitfully with Blok, Belenson, Vengerov. Illustrates the poem “The Twelve” and Chukovsky’s tales. Publishes his own book “Portraits”, which contains images of famous representatives of art and politics.
In 1924, when the political situation in the country of the Soviets began to change, Yuri Annenkov went to the Venice Exhibition, never to return. Settles in Paris, paints landscapes of suburbs, female portraits and interiors. In his works, there are fewer lines and more color, color spots and blurry silhouettes appear.
Since the 1930s, he has been successfully working in the film industry: he designs stage sets and draws costumes. In 1955, this type of activity brings an Oscar nomination. The last years of his life, the master completely devotes to the decoration of magazines and books, illustrates the works of Solzhenitsyn and Bulgakov. Yuri Annenkov died on July 12, 1974, 11 days before his 85th birthday. According to art critics, he had a happy emigre destiny.
The most famous paintings by Yuri Annenkov
Yuri Annenkov’s paintings never cease to delight true connoisseurs of art. The most famous works:
- “Dreams of a Provincial (Borovichi)” (1912) – the picture uses sections that divide the whole into sectors with independent plots.
- “Portrait of Elena Borisovna Annenkova” (1917) – the canvas depicts the ballerina Elena Galperina, the artist’s wife.
- “June. Forest “(1918) – a landscape composed of parts in the style of cubism. “Portrait of Miron Abramovich Sherling” (1918) – in this work, academic drawing is skillfully combined with the techniques of avant-garde.
- “Portrait of A. M. Gorky” (1920) – a combination of watercolor, ink, pencil and ink techniques was used in the creation.
- “Illustration for the poem” The Twelve “by A. A. Blok (1918) – reflects the artist’s characteristic style using elements of cubo-futurism.