Konstantin Korovin

Born: 1861, Moscow
Died: 1939, Paris

Painter, graphic artist, theatrical designer, writer, teacher. Younger brother of Sergei Korovin. Born in Moscow in the family of an Old Believer merchant called Alexei Korovin (1861). Studied at the department of architecture (1875–76) and under Vasily Perov, Alexei Savrasov and Vasily Polenov at the department of painting (1876–89) of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1882). Academician of painting (1905). Painted early works of Russian Impressionism (1880s). Member of the Abramtsevo circle (from 1885) and World of Art (from 1899), founding member of the Union of Russian Artists (1903) and the Literary and Artistic Circle (with Konstantin Stanislavsky, Anton Chekhov and Isaac Levitan). Designed for theatres in Moscow and St Petersburg (from 1885), creating the sets and costumes for over one hundred shows. Worked with Valentin Serov in northern Russia (1894). Collaborated with Sergei Malyutin on the Far North pavilion at the Pan-Russian Exhibition of Industry and Agriculture in Nizhny Novgorod (1896). Taught at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1901–18), Stroganov School of Art and Industry (1900s–10s) and the State Free Art Studios (1918–19). Collaborated with Apollinary Vasnetsov on the sets for the premiere of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg (1907). Contributed to Sergei Diaghilev’s Saisons Russes in Paris and London, helping to design the sets and costumes for productions of Mikhail Fokine’s Le Festin and Mikhail Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Lyudmila at the Théâtre du Châtelet (1909), Mikhail Fokine’s Les Orientales at the Théâtre de l’Opéra (1910) and Peter Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden (1911). Principal designer of the Moscow Imperial Theatres (1910–19). Emigrated to Germany (1922) and settled in Paris (1923), where he painted nocturnal cityscapes. Designed the sets and costumes for performances of Ludwig Minkus’ ballet Don Quixote by the Anna Pavlova Ballet Company in London (1925), Gioachino Rossini’s opera Il barbiere di Siviglia by Fyodor Chaliapin in Great Britain and the United States (1926) and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Snow Maiden and Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor by Maria Kousnetzoff’s Opéra Russe à Paris (1929–30). Wrote stories (from 1929), published memoirs (1935) and a book on Fyodor Chaliapin (1939). Honoured on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his career at the Salle Gaveau in Paris (1932). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1878). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Moscow Society of Lovers of the Arts (1889–96), Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1889, 1891, 1893–99), Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris (1891, 1897), Moscow Fellowship of Artists (1894–95, 1897–1902, 1907), Exhibition of Russian and Finnish Artists (1898), World of Art (1899–1903,1906, 1921–22), 36 Artists (1901, 1902), Modern Art (1902–03), Union of Russian Artists (1903–23), II, IV and V State Exhibitions (1918–19), Die erste russische Kunstausstellung in Berlin (1922), Pan-Russian Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod (1896), World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893), Exposition Universelle in Paris (1900, two gold medals), international exhibitions in Munich (1898), Vienna (1902), Venice (1907), Rome (1911, 1922) and Malmö (1914) and the exhibitions of Russian art in Paris (1906, 1921, 1927, 1931, 1932), Berlin (1906, 1930), New York (1924), Brussels (1928), Birmingham (1928), Amsterdam (1930) and Belgrade (1930). One-man shows in Moscow (1921, 1922, 1961), Berlin (1923), Paris (1925, 1929, 1932), Leningrad (1961) and Kiev (1961). Awarded the Légion d’honneur (1900).

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