Serge Tchekhonine

Born: 1878, Valdaika (Novgorod Province)
Died: 1936, Lörrach (Germany)

Painter, graphic artist, applied artist, illustrator, theatrical designer, teacher. Born in the family of a train driver called Vasily Chekhonin in the village of Valdaika in Novgorod Province (now Lykoshino in Tver Region) on the Moscow-St Petersburg Railway (1878). Grew up near Chudovo railway station in Novgorod Province (1880s). Studied at the Baron Stieglitz Central School of Technical Drawing in St Petersburg (1893–96), under Jan Ciagli?skj and Yevgeny Sabaneyev at the School of Drawing of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (1896–97) and under Vladimir Schreiber and Ilya Repin at the Princess Maria Tenisheva School of Art (1897–1900). Worked under Mikhail Vrubel and Pyotr Vaulin at Savva Mamontov’s Abramtsevo Ceramics Studio in Moscow (1902–07) and at the Heldwein and Vaulin Ceramics Factory in the village of Kikerino near St Petersburg (1907–14). Created majolica panels for the facades of the Metropole Hotel in Moscow (1902–09), Cathedral of Our Lady of St Theodore on Poltava Street in St Petersburg (1911–15) and the chapel of the Moscow Life Guards Regiment on St Sampson’s Prospekt in St Petersburg (1914), helped to redecorate the interiors of the Yussupov Palace on the River Moika in St Petersburg (1913–15). Drew political caricatures (1905–06) and published the Masks satirical magazine (1906), fled to Paris to escape arrest after the defeat of the 1905 revolution (1906–07). Illustrated and designed the layouts of Konstantin Balmont’s Ancient Calls (1907), Nadezhda Teffi’s Seven Fires (1910), Alexander Benois’s The History of Painting of All Times and Peoples (1911), Jan Tugendhold’s French Art and its Representatives (1911), Sasha Chorny’s Satires (1911–12), Dmitry Censor’s Legends of the Quotidian (1914), Arkady Averchenko’s Bengal Lights (1914), Maria Moravskaya’s Orange Peels (1914), Alexander Pushkin’s Mozart and Salieri (1915), Sergei Makovsky and Nikolai Radlov’s Modern Russian Graphic Art (1917), Anatoly Lunacharsky’s Faust and the City (1918), Alexander Pushkin’s Ruslan and Lyudmila (1921), Nikolai Yevreinov’s What Is The Theatre (1921), John Reed’s Ten Days That Shook The World (1923), Kornei Chukovsky’s The Giant Roach (1923), Elizaveta Polonskaya’s Guests (1924) and Samuel Marshak’s A Book About Books (1924). Member of the World of Art (1912–24). Visited Berlin as a consultant of the Ministry of Agriculture at the Russische Kunstgewerbe-Ausstellung (1913). Headed studios of enamel painting at Rostov in Yaroslavl Province and Torzhok in Tver Province (1913–17) and taught at the Central School of Technical Drawing in Petrograd (1917–20s). Artistic director of the State Porcelain Factory in Petrograd (1918–23), Volkhov Porcelain and Faience Factory (former Kuznetsov Factory) in Novgorod Region (1923–25) and the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory in Leningrad (1925–27). Travelled with an exhibition of Soviet porcelain to an art fair in Paris (1928), where he remained for the rest of his life, without renouncing his Soviet citizenship. Designed sets and costumes for the Ballets Russes de Vera Nemtchinova and Nicolas Balieff’s Théâtre du la Chauve Souris (1928–36). Worked for Vogue (1929) and restored paintings and porcelain (early 1930s). Invented a method of multi-coloured garment printing using only one roller, which was patented in Europe (1933) and America (1924). Visited New York (1924). Travelled to Weil am Rhein in south-west Germany to implement his invention at the Färberei Schetty (1935), but died of a heart attack at the St. Elisabethen-Krankenhaus in the nearby town of Lörrach (1936). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1903). Contributed to the exhibitions of Modern Art (1903), Wreath (1908), Union of Russian Artists (1908–09), World of Art (1913, 1915–18, 1922, 1924), Second Pan-Russian Exhibition of Handicrafts in St Petersburg (1913), Weltausstellung für das gesamte Buchgewerbe und die graphischen Künste in Leipzig (1914), House of Artists in Petrograd (1920, 1921), Community of Artists in Petrograd (1921–22, 1925), La Fiera internazionale del Libro in Florence (1922), Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (1923, 1925), Venice Biennale (1924), Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris (1925, two gold medals), All-Union Exhibition of Soviet Porcelain in Moscow (1926), Exhibition of Russian Porcelain in Leningrad (1927), Internationale Buchkunst Ausstellung at the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig (1927), Terza Mostra Internazionale delle Arti Decorative in Monza (1927), Salon d’Automne (1928), Artists of the RSFSR Over Fifteen Years at the Russian Museum in Leningrad (1932), exhibitions of Russian art in Berlin (1922), New York (1924), Los Angeles (1925), Tokyo (1927), Brussels (1928) and Copenhagen (1929), group exhibition with Nathan Altman, Robert Falk and Pyotr Vychegzhanin at the Galerie de l’Hirondelle in the Jardin du Palais-Royal in Paris (1928) and one-man shows at the House of Marchak at 4 Rue de la Paix in Paris (1928), Galerie de la Renaissance at 11 Rue Royale in Paris (1929) and the Russian Museum in St Petersburg (1995).

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