Alexander Golovin

Born: 1863, Moscow
Died: 1930, Detskoe Selo

Painter, graphic artist, theatrical designer, furniture designer, interior decorator, illustrator. Born in Moscow to a priest called Jacob Golovin, who served at the Church of the Annunciation on the Rostov Embankment (1863). Moved to Petrovskoe-Razumovskoe after his father was appointed professor of theosophy at the newly opened Academy of Agriculture and Forestry on the former estate of Count Kirill Razumovsky (1866). Studied architecture (1881–83) and painting under Illarion Pryanishnikov, Vladimir Makovsky and Vasily Polenov (1883–89) at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, graduating with the title of class artist (1889). Continued his studies in Paris at the Académie Colarossi (1889) and Académie Vitti (1897). Painted interiors of buildings designed by Czech architect Anton Tomiško in Moscow (1889–95). Visited Italy (1895–99), where he studied the art of majolica, and Spain (1897). Married Maria Kotova (1897), who gave birth to three children before their marriage collapsed. Member of the Abramtsevo circle (1890s), World of Art (1900, 1911) and the Union of Russian Artists (1903). Collaborated with Konstantin Korovin on the interior of the Russian pavilion at the Exposition Universelle in Paris (1899–1900) and with Mikhail Vrubel on a majolica frieze for the Metropole Hotel in Moscow (1900–03). Worked for the Imperial Theatres Company (1899–1917), designing the sets and costumes for many productions at the Bolshoi Theatre and Moscow Art Theatre in Moscow and the Mariinsky Theatre and Alexandrinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, collaborating closely with Vsyevolod Meyerhold (1908–19). Painted the Spanish Women series (1902–07), images of Fyodor Chaliapin performing theatrical roles (1905–11) and portraits of other famous actors, writers, artists and directors (1910–17). Contributed to Sergei Diaghilev’s Saisons Russes in Paris and London, helping to design the sets and costumes for productions of Modest Mussorgsky’s musical drama Boris Godunov at the Théâtre de l’Opéra (1908), Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Maid of Pskov at the Théâtre du Châtelet (1909) and Drury Lane Theatre (1913), Igor Stravinsky’s ballet L’Oiseau de feu at the Théâtre de l’Opéra (1910) and Peter Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden (1911). Academician of painting (1912). Moved to Tsarskoe Selo after being diagnosed with heart disease (1913). Illustrated E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Die Doppeltgänger (1922). Collaborated with Konstantin Stanislavsky on productions at the Moscow Art Theatre (from 1926), designing the sets for Pierre Beaumarchais’s comedy Le Mariage de Figaro (1927) and William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello (1930). Died in Detskoe Selo and buried at the Kazan Cemetery in Pushkin (1930). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1893). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1893, 1895), Moscow Fellowship of Artists (1894, 1901–02), World of Art (1899–1903, 1906, 1911–12, 1924), Union of Russian Artists (1903–09, 1916), New Society of Artists (1907, 1908), Sergei Diaghilev’s exhibitions of Russian art in Paris (1906) and Berlin (1906), Exposition Universelle in Paris (1900, gold and silver medals) and Brussels (1910) and the Esposizione Internazionale in Venice (1907) and Rome (1911). People’s Artist of the RSFSR (1928).

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