Alexander Gerasimov

Born: 1881, Kozlov (Tambov Province)
Died: 1963, Moscow

Painter, graphic artist, theatrical designer, architect. Studied painting under Abram Arkhipov and Konstantin Korovin (1903–10) and architecture (1910–15) at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Fought in the First World War (1915–17) and lived in Kozlov in Tambov Province (1918–25), where he founded the Commune of Kozlov Artists (1918) and painted scenery for the local theatre, which he had previously designed (1913). Returned to Moscow (1925), where he joined the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (1925). Abandoned Impressionist landscapes for heroic works of Socialist Realism (1929–30), becoming the favourite artist of Joseph Stalin (1930s) and leading the attacks on cosmopolitanism and formalism in Soviet art (1940s). Chairman of the Union of Artists (1939–54), president of the Academy of Arts of the USSR (1947–57). Political rival of the more liberal Sergei Gerasimov (no relative). Died in Moscow and buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery (1963). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1906). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Fellowship of Independents (1909–11), Free Creativity (1911–18), Exhibition of Art and Industry in Tver (1912), Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1913–15), Artists of Moscow for War Victims (1914), Commune of Kozlov Artists (1918, 1919), Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (1925–32), New York World’s Fair (1939–40) and Expo ‘58 in Brussels (1958, gold medal). Winner of the Stalin Prize (1941, 1943, 1946, 1949), People’s Artist of the USSR (1943).

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