Lev Kropivnitsky

Born: 1922, Tyumen
Died: 1994, Moscow

Painter, graphic artist, engraver, sculptor, applied artist, designer, poet. Son of Yevgeny Kropivnitsky and Olga Potapova, brother of Valentina Kropivnitskaya, brother-in-law of Oscar Rabin, uncle of Alexander Rabin. Born in Tyumen (1922). Moved to Moscow (1923). Taught art by his father. Influenced by his father’s Cubo-Futurist compositions and mother’s portraits (1928). Studied at the Moscow Institute of Applied and Decorative Art (1939–41). Called up into the Red Army (1941). Fought in the Second World War (1941–44). Wounded during active service and demobilised (1944). Returned to Moscow, where he continued his studies under Alexander Deineka at the Moscow Institute of Applied and Decorative Art (1945–46). Arrested with a group of students (more than forty people) and accused of anti-Soviet propaganda and terrorism (23 January 1946). Sentenced by a special board to ten years imprisonment in corrective labour camps (21 December 1946). Served his sentence at Ukhtizhemlag in the Komi Autonomous Republic (1947–48) and Steplag in Karaganda Region (1949–54). Released without right to leave the town of Balkhash in Kazakhstan (1954). Worked as a theatrical designer, stage director and art teacher at the Balqash Palace of Culture, where he took up abstract art (1954–56). Rehabilitated (1953?) and returned to Moscow (1956). Worked for the Combine of Decorative and Applied Art, as a book illustrator and as an art critic for Decorative Art. Contributed to unofficial art life in Moscow (from 1956). Painted a series of non-objective works in a spontaneous Tachiste style (late 1950s–early 1960s). Addressed figurative or “mythological” Expressionism, painting archaic masks, magic symbols and signs (mid-1960s). Active member of the nonconformist movement (from 1956). Member of the Lianozovo group of poets and nonconformist artists based around his father Yevgeny Kropivnitsky (1950s–60s). Painted pictures, illustrated books, designed posters, wrote poetry and articles on art, planned the layouts of permanent exhibitions in museums and shows of the national art of America, France and Czechoslovakia (1956–73). Member of the Union of Artists (1973–83). Died in Moscow (1994). Contributed to over one hundred exhibitions in Russia (from 1958) and abroad (1967).

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