Albert Benois

Born: 1852, St Petersburg
Died: 1936, Fontenay-aux-Roses (France)

Painter, architect, teacher. Grandson of architect Alberto Cavos (1800–1863), son of Nicolas Benois and Camilla Cavos (1828–1891), elder brother of Léon Benois and Alexander Benois, uncle of Yevgeny Lanceray and Zinaida Serebryakova, great-uncle of actor Sir Peter Ustinov (1921–2004), father-in-law of the composer Nikolai Tcherepnin (1873–1945). Studied architecture at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1871–77). Awarded a minor gold medal (1876) and graduated with the title of first-class architect (1877). Married the Swiss-born pianist Maria Kind (1876), whom he later divorced after she had an affair with the composer Sergei Taneyev (1886). Took up watercolour painting (1877), studying under Luigi Premazzi and helping to found the Society of Russian Watercolourists (1880). Accompanied the imperial family on a cruise of the Finnish skerries (1883). Fellow of the Imperial Academy of Arts in Italy, France and Spain (1883–85). Academician (1884), full member of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1893), board member (1894). Taught watercolour painting at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1885–94). Worked as a keeper at the Alexander III Russian Museum (from 1895) and as an inspector of the Department of Trade and Manufacturing (from 1897). Travelled widely across Russia, Europe, North Africa, Central Asia and the Far East (1890s–1910s), painted views of the north Russian coastline on an expedition organised by the Petrograd Institute of Geology (1920). Emigrated to Paris (1924). Died in Fontenay-aux-Roses near Paris (1936). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Imperial Academy of Arts (from 1874), Society of Russian Watercolourists (from 1876) and one-man shows in St Petersburg (1903, 1909, 1915), Kiev (1904, 1909) and the Galerie Georges Petit and Galerie Vladimir Hirschmann in Paris (after 1924).

Léon Benois

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