David Sterenberg

Born: 1881, Zhytomyr (Ukraine)
Died: 1948, Moscow

Painter, graphic artist, theatrical designer, illustrator, teacher. Born to a Jewish family in the Pale of Settlement (1881). Member of the General Jewish Labour Bund (1903). Studied at a private studio in Odessa (1905) and emigrated to Vienna (1906), where he worked as a retoucher of photographs and had an illegitimate son called Vladimir. Moved to Paris (1907), where he lived and worked at La Ruche in Montparnasse and studied under Kees van Dongen and Hermenegildo Anglada Camarasa at the Académie Vitti (1907–12). Visited Kiev and Zhitomir (1914). Returned via England and Norway to Russia (1917), where he was appointed commissar for fine art (1917–19) and head of IZO Narkompros (1918–20). Taught at the VKhUTEMAS/VKhUTEIN in Moscow (1920–30). Illustrated children’s books (1920s). Member of Four Arts (1924), founding member and chairman of the Society of Easel Artists (1925–30), corresponding member of the Union of German Book Artists (1928). Director of the Russian section at Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris (1925). Worked for the Jewish Theatre and the Moscow Theatre of Drama (1928). Elected first deputy chairman of the Moscow branch of the Union of Artists (1932). Criticised for Formalism and forced to work in a more realistic style (1930s). Evacuated to Irkutsk (1941), where he worked for the Russian Telegraph Agency (1942–44). Died in Moscow and buried at the Vagankovo Cemetery (1948). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1912). Contributed to the Salon d’Automne (1912), Salon de Printemps (1912–13), Salon des Indépendants (1912, 1914, 1917), Group Exhibition with Henri Matisse, Amédée Ozenfant and Maurice Utrillo in Paris (1917), Exhibition of Paintings and Sculptures by Jewish Artists in Moscow (1918), XXI State Exhibition (1919–20), Exhibition of Three with Marc Chagall and Nathan Altman in Moscow (1922), Die erste russische Kunstausstellung in Berlin (1922), Venice Biennale (1924–32) and one-man shows in Moscow (1927, 1959, 1991). Honoured Artist of the RSFSR (1930).

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