Dmitry Sannikov

Born: 1903
Died: 1970s

Painter, graphic artist. Born in an unknown place in the family of Nikolai Sannikov (1903). Studied under Kazimir Malevich and Vera Yermolaeva at the Vitebsk School of Art (1919–24). Member of UNOVIS (1920–22). Practical student of the Formal and Theoretical Department of the Museum/Institute of Artistic Culture in Leningrad (1924–26). Called up into the Red Army. Died in an unknown place (1970s).

The archive documents of the Institute of Artistic Culture contain the following official statement signed by Kazimir Malevich: “Dmitry Sannikov underwent a five-year theoretical and practical artistic training, satisfying all the needs of the fine arts, at the Vitebsk School of Art, one of the higher artistic establishments. He currently works at the Research Institute of Higher Artistic Knowledge of the Museum of Artistic Culture, continuing his education in the field of science and art.” (Central State Archives of Literature and Art, St Petersburg, Fund 244, Inv. 2, Dossier 6, Sheet 78)

On 12 February 1924, Malevich analysed Sannikov’s Futurist work at a class with the practical students of the Formal and Theoretical Department. The Institute of Artistic Culture archives contain a short record of the lesson:

(1) The task [of the lecture] is to explain the link between the work of the practical students on Impressionism and their general subsequent activities.

(2) The artistic approach to phenomena of art and the scientific approach.

(3) Working on Impressionism, practical students do not prepare to be Impressionists, but study the element of light [and colour] as it is manifested in Impressionism.

(4) The element of light already known to the practical students participates in this particular Futurist work, though understood differently than in Impressionism.

(5) The difference between light in Impressionism and light in Futurism. Light in the Futurist work is a contrasting material participating as an element of construction.

(6) The material in the circumstance of light in the Futurist work.

(7) The significance of the reflex in the Futurist work and in Impressionism, the difference in its states.

(8) Light in the Futurist work is limited and deprived of space, the reflex is independent and is light. Tone in the Futurist work.

(9) Knowledge of the Impressionist system provides the opportunity of investigating questions of light in other systems of painting.

(10) Work on the study of light is completed when light is studied in all the systems of painting [by the Formal Section].

(11) The significance of notes on colour for subsequent work.

(Typewritten copy, Central State Archives of Literature and Art, St Petersburg, Fund 244, Inv. 1, Dossier 21, Sheet 20; words in square brackets were handwritten by Malevich himself)

The minutes of the meeting of the Formal and Theoretical Department on 2 October 1924 contain the following sentences: “Interrogate former members of UNOVIS Sannikov and Kagan with the aim of establishing their real attitude towards painting after a year’s work outside the Institute. Establish the additional element in their current circumstances.” (Central State Archives of Literature and Art, St Petersburg, Fund 244, Inv. 1, Dossier 31, Sheet 26)

Dmitry Sannikov is mentioned in Lev Yudin’s diary entry for 20 February 1928: “Sannikov has lively new things in French magazines.” (Russian Museum Manuscript Department, Fund 205, Dossier 5, Sheet 20)

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