Serge Charchoune

Born: 1888, Buguruslan (Samara Province)
Died: 1975, Villeneuve-Saint-George (France)

Painter, graphic artist, writer. Born in Buguruslan in Samara Province in the family of Ivan Sharshun (1888). Graduated from a commercial institute in Simbirsk. Studied in the studios of Ilya Mashkov and Konstantin Juon in Moscow (1909–12), where he met Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova and Alexei Kruchenykh. Lived in Paris (from 1912). Studied under Jean Metzinger, André Dunoyer de Segonzac and Henri le Fauconier at the Russian Academy and the Académie de la Palette (1910s). Lived in Spain (1914–17), where he was introduced to Dadaism in Barcelona. Painted abstract-geometric compositions and created drawn films on Russian themes. Joined the Dada group in Paris (1919). Published Blind Brain. Transporting Dada in Russian (1921) and a poem called The Immovable Crowd illustrated with his own Dadaist drawings (1921). Member of the Chamber of Poets in Paris (from 1922) and the Cherez literary-arts group (from 1922). Worked in Russian émigré publications. Worked in the spirit of Ornamental Cubism, combining abstract geometric forms with figurative elements (from mid-1920s). Painted still-lifes and semi-abstract landscapes for money after being bankrupted by the Great Depression and the Second World War. Wrote a novel called The Righteous Way (1926–34), poems in prose called Dolgolikov (1918–34) and The Heavenly Bell (1919–29) and a novella called The Hare’s Heart (1933–37). Attended the Green Lamp soirées of Zinaida Gippius and Dmitry Merezhkovsky (1930s). Moved towards abstract art with geometric shapes (1944), which provided a burst of creative energy. Signed a contract with the Galerie R. Creze (1944). Created works dominated by the themes of water and the sea (1940s and early 1950s) and the theme of music (1950s–70s). Took up monochrome compositions with a complex relief texture. Created books in small print runs (1950s–70s), reissued his literary works of the 1930s and published the books Whispered Aphorisms (1969) and Abracadabra – Serge Charchoune (1971). Died in Villeneuve-Saint-George near Paris (1975). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1913). Contributed to the Salon des Indépendants (1913, 1914, 1921), Dada (1921), exhibitions of Russian art in London (1921), Berlin (1922), Paris (1925), Wilmington (USA, 1932) and Prague (1935), group exhibitions of French artists in Amsterdam, Strasbourg, Barcelona, Stockholm, Brussels, New York (1920s, 1930s), Chisla (Paris, 1931), In Honour of Victory (Paris, 1946), Russian Painters in the Paris School (Saint-Denis, 1960; Paris, 1961), The Russian View (Heidelberg, 1974), More Russians (Paris, 1975) and one-man shows in Barcelona (1916, 1917), Paris (1920, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1939, 1944–58 yearly, 1971), Berlin (1922, 1923), Montreal (1957), Copenhagen (1959), New York (1960), Milan (1962, 1969, 1974), Venice (1962), Düsseldorf (1963), Luxembourg (1967, 1970–71), Geneva (1967, 1971), Saint-Etienne (1964), Rheims (1971) and Cannes (1974).

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