Vladimir von Bechtejeff

Born: 1878, Moscow
Died: 1971, Moscow
Movements:
Expressionism

Painter, graphic artist, set designer, illustrator. Descended from a Tatar prince called Bekhtei or Bakhtei (from the Turkic word bakht, meaning “luck” or “good fortune”) awarded lands in Novgorod (15th century). Other ancestors include Fyodor von Bechtejeff (first tutor of Tsar Paul I) and Sergei von Bechtejeff (deputy of the Third Duma). Cousin of Serge von Bechtejeff (1879–1954), a monarchist poet who smuggled works to the imperial family in Tobolsk (1917), one of which was found in the hands of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna after the massacre at the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg (1918). Studied at non-classical secondary school in Moscow (1888–94) and the Nicholas Cavalry Academy in St Petersburg (1894–96). Served in the Mitawa Dragoon Regiment at Czestochowa in Poland (1897–1900). Decided to become an artist and resigned from the army with the rank of lieutenant (1901). Visited Italy (1901) and returned to St Petersburg, where he worked under Dmitry Kardovsky at the Imperial Academy of Arts and in the private studio of Jan Ciaglińskj (1901). Studied under Heinrich Knirr in Munich (1902–05) and Fernand Cormon in Paris (1906). Travelled across France, Italy and Tunisia (1906–08) and returned to Munich (1908), where he cofounded the Neue Künstlervereinigung München with Wassily Kandinsky, Alexei von Jawlensky, Gabriele Münter, Marianne von Werefkin, Adolf Erbslöh and Alexander Kanoldt (1909). Returned to Russia following the outbreak of the First World War (1914) and served as a reserve lieutenant in Borisoglebsk (1914–17). Worked for IZO Narkompros (1918–21). Principal designer of the First State Circus in Moscow (1921–22). Designed book covers and drew illustrations for publishing houses (1922–30). Painted series of watercolours following visits to Teberda in the Caucasus (1929), Sartana in the Ukraine (1930–32) and Gudauta in Abkhazia (1932). Illustrated Théophile Gautier’s Mademoiselle de Maupin (1932), Charles Nodier’s Jean Sbogar (1933) and Longus’s Daphnis and Chloe (1933). Travelled along the Military Georgian Highway and painted a series of watercolours for the Museum of Literature (1935). Lived in Chimkent and painted the Kazakhstan series of watercolours (1939–45). Returned to Moscow (1945) and illustrated works of literature (1946–59). Painted the Baltic series of watercolours in Palanga, Pärnu and Dzintari (1955–66). Honoured Artist of the RSFSR (1969). Died in Moscow (1971). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1905). Contributed to the exhibitions of II New Society of Artists in St Petersburg (1905), I Neue Kunstlervereinigung München E.V. at the Moderne Galerie Heinrich Thannhauser in Munich (1909–10), First Vladimir Izdebsky Salon in Odessa/Kiev/St Petersburg/Riga (1909–10), II Neue Kunstlervereinigung München E.V. at the Moderne Galerie Heinrich Thannhauser in Munich (1910), Knave of Diamonds at the Moscow Military District Economic Society on Vozdvizhenka and the House of Levinson at 32 Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street in Moscow (1910–11), Exhibition of the Works of Alexei von Jawlensky and Wladimir von Bechtejeff at the Ruhmeshalle in Barmen (1911), Internationale Kunstausstellung des Sonderbundes Westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler zu Cöln in Cologne (1912), Der Sturm at the Galerie der Sturm in Berlin (1912–14), Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon at 75 Potsdamerstrasse in Berlin (1913), Baltiska utställningen in Malmö (1914), V State Exhibition: From Impressionism to Non-Objectivity at the Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (1918–19), Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes at the Galerie Esplanade/USSR Pavilion in Paris (1925), First Exhibition of the Association of Graphic Artists of the House of Printing at the House of Printing in Moscow (1926), Internationale Buchkunst Ausstellung at the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig/Nuremberg (1927), Third Exhibition of the Association of Graphic Artists of the House of Printing at the House of Printing in Moscow (1928), Exhibition of Acquisitions of the State Commission for the Acquisition of Works of Fine Art (1927–28) in Moscow (1928), Exhibition of the Artists of the Four Arts Group at the Russian Museum in Leningrad (1928), Grafiek en boekkunst uit de Sovjet-Unie at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1929), Exhibition of Painting, Graphic Art, Sculpture and Architecture by the Artists of the Four Arts Group at Moscow University (1929), VI Life – Creativity at the District House of Education on 58 Bolshaya Polyanka Street in Moscow (1929), Modern Art in Russia in Malmö (1930), Crimea and Caucasus: Health Centres of the USSR at 11 Kuznetsky Most in Moscow (1931), Exhibition of Soviet Art in Königsberg (1932), Artists of the RSFSR Over Fifteen Years (1917–33): Graphic Art at the State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (1933), Modern Art of the USSR in San Francisco/Chicago/Philadelphia/American-Russian Institute in New York (1933), Exhibition of Soviet Graphic Art, Artistic Books, Posters and Photography at the Galerie Bilieu in Paris/Lyon/ Institut des Sciences du Travail (IST) in Bordeaux (1933), Exhibition of Soviet Graphic Art at the Bloomsbury Gallery in London (1934), Exhibition of Soviet Illustrations to Works of Fiction Over Five Years (1931–36) at the Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow/Academy of Arts in Leningrad (1936), Exhibition of Works by Moscow Artists at the Mikhail Frunze Central House of the Red Army in Moscow (1936), Exhibition of Graphic Art by Moscow Artists at the Ukrainian Picture Gallery in Kharkiv (1938), All-Union Exhibition of Children’s Literature and Children’s Book Illustrations at the Vsekokhudozhnik Central Exhibition Hall in Moscow (1938), Sixth Exhibition of the Union of Moscow Artists at the Vsekokhudozhnik Central Exhibition Hall in Moscow (1939), Exhibition of Painting and Graphic Art at the Central House of Workers of Culture of the USSR on 9 Pushechnaya Street in Moscow (1939), Exhibition of the Lermontov Archives of Moscow Museums in Moscow (1939), Exhibition of New Works of Soviet Graphic Art in Moscow (1940), Exhibition of the Best Works of Soviet Artists at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow (1941), Best Works of Soviet Art (From the Collections of the Tretyakov Gallery) in Novosibirsk (1942), All-Union Exhibition on the Hundredth Anniversary of the Death of Mikhail Lermontov at the Museum of Literature in Moscow (1945), Third Exhibition of Books and Graphic Art of Goslitizdat (1947–48) at the Union of Artists on 20 Kuznetsky Most in Moscow/Russian Museum in Leningrad (1949), All-Union Exhibition on the 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Alexander Pushkin in Moscow/Alexander Pushkin Museum in Pushkin (1949), Radischev: Exhibition on the Two-Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Alexander Radischev in Moscow (1949), Second Exhibition of Book Artists at the Union of Artists in Moscow (1951), Third Exhibition of Book Artists at the House of the Artist on 48 Gorky Street in Moscow (1952), Victor Hugo Centennial Exhibition in Moscow (1952), Second Exhibition of Watercolours by Moscow Artists at the Union of Artists on 20 Kuznetsky Most in Moscow (1956), ХХVIII Biennale in Venice (1956), Exhibition of Soviet Fine Art in Indonesia at the Trade Union of Railway Workers Club in Djakarta (1956), All-Union Exhibition of Books, Graphic Art and Posters Celebrating the Fortieth Anniversary of the October Revolution at the Lenin Library in Moscow (1957), Exhibition of Books in Paris (1957), French Books, Graphic Art and Manuscripts from the Archives of the Literature Museum and the Central State Archives of Literature and Art at the Museum of Literature in Moscow (1957), Exhibition of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Art for the First All-Union Congress of Soviet Artists at the Union of Artists/Academy of Arts/House of the Artist/ZiL Palace of Culture/Central House of Workers of the Arts in Moscow (1957), Third Exhibition of Watercolours by Moscow Artists at the Central House of the Architect/Gorky Park in Moscow (1957), Sixth Exhibition of Works of Book Artists at the Union of Artists on 11 Kuznetsky Most in Moscow (1957), Hovhannes Tumanian in Fine Art at the Hovhannes Tumanian Memorial Museum in Yerevan (1957), All-Union Art Exhibition Dedicated to the Fortieth Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution at the Manège Central Exhibition Hall, Academy of Arts of the USSR, House of the Artist, Union of Artists and Central House of Workers of the Arts in Moscow (1957–58), All-Union Exhibition of Books in Moscow (1958), Exhibition of Illustrations to the Works of Polish Writers in Warsaw (1958), Exhibition of West European, Eastern, Russian and Soviet Drawings and Watercolours in Moscow (1959), [Fourth] Exhibition of Watercolours and Ceramics by Moscow Artists in Moscow (1960), Il contributo russo alle avangardie plastische gallerea del Levante in Milan/Rome (1964), Der Blaue Reiter. In der Stadtischen Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich (1966), Best Drawings from the Collection of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (1966), Soviet Russia Republican Art Exhibition in Moscow (1967), Erbslöh und sein Kreis at the Galerie Anne Abels in Cologne (1968), Soviet Russia Republican Art Exhibition in Moscow (1970), Exhibition of Works Dedicated to the Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Vladimir Lenin in Moscow (1970), Exhibition of New Acquisitions (1959–69) at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (1970), Russian Drawings and Watercolours (From the Pyotr Kornilov Collection, Leningrad) at the Regional Picture Gallery in Vologda (1973), Der Blaue Reiter in Lenbachhaus in Munich (1974), Soviet Graphic Art in Private Collections in Leningrad at the Union of Artists in Leningrad (1979), Selected Drawings and Paintings from the Collection of Professor Andrei Chegodayev at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (1980), All-Union Exhibition of Art Illustrations at 10 Krymsky Val in Moscow (1980), Exhibition of the Work of the Academia Publishing House (1922–37) in Moscow (1980), Exhibition of New Acquisitions (1970–80) at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (1982), Der Blaue Reiter at the Kunstmuseum in Berne (1987), Exhibition of New Acquisitions (1981–86) at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (1989), Vangardismo Ruso. De collecciones privadas. 1900–1935 in Valencia in Spain (1991), The Female Image in the Drawings and Watercolours of Russian Artists of the First Half of the Twentieth Century (From the Feldstein Collection, Moscow) in Moscow (1992), Agitation for Happiness: Soviet Art of the Stalinist Era (From the Collection of the Russian Museum, St Petersburg), Kassel/Düsseldorf (1994), “Left, March!” Exhibition of Russian Avant-Garde Art of the 1910s and 1960s at the New Hermitage Gallery in Moscow (2000), Russian Munich: Painting and Graphic Art of Russian Turn-of-the-Century Artists at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow (2004), The Chegodayev Collection: Exhibition Dedicated to the Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Andrei Chegodayev (1905–1994) at the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow (2005) and one-man shows in Moscow (1955, 1961, 1964, 1969, 2005), Leningrad (1962, 1969) and Kiev (1964).

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