Ilya Repin

Born: 1844, Chuhuiv (Kharkiv Province)
Died: 1930, Kuokkala (Finland)

Painter, draughtsman, engraver, illustrator, teacher, writer. Studied at the Chuhuiv School of Military Topography (1854–57) and under Ivan Bunakov in Chuhuiv (1857). Painted icons and frescoes for local churches (1859–63). Moved to St Petersburg (1863) and studied under Rudolf Zukowski and Ivan Kramskoi at the School of Drawing of the Society for the Encouragement of Artists (1863–64) and under Pyotr Basin, Fidelio Bruni and Timoleon Carl von Neff at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1864–71). Academician (1876), professor of painting (1892), full member of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1893). Travelled down the River Volga (1870, 1872) in search of material for Barge Haulers on the Volga (1870–73). Painted a group portrait of Russian, Polish and Czech composers for the Moscow Conservatoire (1871–72). Married Vera Shevtseva (1872), but separated after she uncovered his infidelity (1884). Fellow of the Imperial Academy of Arts in France and Italy (1873–76). Travelled to Paris via Vienna, Rome and Naples (1873). Painted plein-air studies at Veules in Normandy (1874) and attended the exhibitions of the French Impressionists (1874–76). Visited the National Gallery in London and met Ivan Turgenev (1875). Returned to St Petersburg (1876) and lived in Chuhuiv (1876–77). Moved to Moscow (1877) and worked at Savva Mamontov’s estate in Abramtsevo (1878, 1879). Joined the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1878). Travelled to the Ukraine to work on Zaporozhian Cossacks Writing a Letter to the Turkish Sultan (1880) and to Kursk to paint studies for Religious Procession in Kursk Province (1881). Spent much time in the company of Leo Tolstoy (1880–82). Moved to St Petersburg (1882). Visited Dresden and Paris with Vladimir Stasov and copied the works of Velázquez and Titian at the Prado in Madrid (1883). Drew a series of works on Gospel subjects (1886–88). Travelled to Italy and painted Self-Portrait in Florence (1887). Lived at the estate of Zdrawneva near Vitebsk (1892). Travelled across Europe with his son Yury (1893–94). Taught at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1894–1907, rector 1898–99) and the Princess Maria Tenisheva School of Art (1895–98). Visited Odessa, Constantinople and Jerusalem (1898) and the Caucasus (1899). Bought the estate of Penates at the Finnish seaside resort of Kuokkala (1899), settling there permanently with the writer Natalia Nordmann-Severova (1903). Commissioned by the Russian government to paint Sitting of the State Council on 7 May 1901 Marking the Centenary of its Foundation (1901–03). Visited Italy (1905, 1911), Helsinki (1912) and Switzerland (1914). Published memoirs (1916). Stranded in Kuokkala after Finland declared independence and closed its borders with Russia (1918). Worked on a large series of Gospel compositions (1921–22) and resisted the attempts of the Soviet government to entice him back to Russia (1926). Died and buried in the park at Penates (1930), which was turned into a public museum after Kuokkala was returned to Russia (1944) and renamed Repino (1948). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1865). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1865, 1868, 1869, 1873, 1878, 1881, 1896), Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1874, 1878–1918), Paris Salon (1875), Society of Exhibitions of Artistic Works in the Imperial Academy of Arts (1880–81), Moscow Society of Lovers of the Arts (1881, 1904, 1909), Pan-Russian Exhibition in Moscow (1882), Moscow Fellowship of Artists (1895), World of Art (1899), Exhibition of Experiences of Artistic Creativity (Studies) of Russian and Foreign Artists and Students (1896), World Exhibitions in Vienna (1873), Paris (1878, 1900), St Louis (1904) and Rome (1911), exhibitions of Russian art in Paris (1906) and Berlin (1906) and the international exhibitions in Munich (1901, 1909) and Venice (1907). One-man shows in St Petersburg/Leningrad (1891, 1925), Helsinki (1922), Prague (1923, 1925) and Moscow (1924). Awarded the Légion d’honneur (1901) and the Order of the White Rose of Finland (1919).

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