Alexei Savrasov

Born: 1830, Moscow
Died: 1897, Moscow

Painter, draughtsman, teacher. Father of Alexei Morgunov. Born to a haberdasher in Moscow and christened at the Church of St Nikita the Great Martyr on Shvivaya Hill (1830). Studied under Carl Wilhelm von Rabus at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1844–50). Awarded the title of non-class artist (1850) and academician of landscape painting (1854). Lived and worked in the Ukraine (1852–54), St Petersburg (1854) and Moscow (1855–97). Married Sophia Hertz, sister of fellow student Konstantin Hertz and art historian Karl Hertz (1857). Headed the landscape class at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1857–82). Member of the Moscow Society of Lovers of the Arts (from 1860) and founding member of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1870). Painted realist landscapes outside Moscow (late 1850s–early 1860s) and addressed themes from Russian history (1860s). Fellow of the Moscow Society of Lovers of the Arts in Great Britain (1862), where he visited the International Exhibition and was influenced by John Constable and English landscape painting (1862). Travelled to France and Denmark and worked in Switzerland (1862–66). Visited the Exposition Universelle in Paris (1867). Worked on the River Volga (1870–71) and pioneered the mood landscape in The Rooks Have Flown Back (1871), which he painted in Yaroslavl, where his wife fell ill after giving birth to a stillborn daughter (1871). Painted townscapes of Moscow and increasingly depressing landscapes set in winter or early spring (1870s). Suffered from eyesight problems and the collapse of his marriage following the death of another daughter from scarlet fever (late 1870s). Sacked from his teaching post and deprived of his Academy apartment (1882). Occasionally lived with Eudokia Morgunova (1880s), who gave birth to a son (Alexei) and daughter (Nadezhda), but mostly led a rootless existence, living in rented rooms and selling badly painted works for alcohol (1890s). Died alone in a hospital for the poor in Moscow and buried at the Vagankovo Cemetery (1897). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1852). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Imperial Academy of Arts (from 1854), Society of Lovers of the Arts (from 1861), Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (from 1871), Pan-Russian Exhibition of Art and Industry in Moscow (1882) and the world exhibitions in Vienna (1873) and Paris (1878).

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