Serge Poliakoff

Born: 1900, Moscow
Died: 1969, Paris

Painter, graphic artist, lithographer, theatrical designer, musician, actor. Born in Moscow in the family of Georgy Polyakov (1900). Lived in Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Germany and Austria (1919–23), acting as a companion for his aunt, the singer Nastia Polyakova. Lived in Paris (from 1923), where he worked as a guitarist in cabaret and acted in films (until 1952). Studied at the Académie Frochaut and Académie de la Grande-Chaumière in Paris (1929) and at the Slade School of Fine Art in London (1935–36), where he was interested in the painting of the Early Italian Renaissance and Egypt. Moved away from figurative painting after meeting Wassily Kandinsky and Robert and Sonia Delaunay (1937). Enjoyed success (1940s–60s). Worked in an abstract style, created paintings, gouache paintings, collages, colour lithographs and theatrical sets. Won the Kandinsky Prize for painting (1947). Signed a contract with the Bing Gallery (1952). Gained worldwide fame (late 1950s). Awarded French citizenship (1962). Member of the French Academy of Arts and Literature (from 1962). Died in Paris (1969). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1931). Contributed to group exhibitions of Russian artists (Paris, 1931), Society of French Artists (1932), National Fine Arts Society (1935), Salon des Indépendants (1938–45), Salon d’Automne (1942), Super-Independent (1945, 1946), Salon des Réalités Nouvelles (1946), Russian Artists of the Paris School (Saint-Denis, 1960; Paris, 1961), International Biannual in Venice (1956, Lisson prize), Tokyo (1965, prize) and Menton (1966, grand prix) and one-man shows in Paris (1937, 1945, 1950s–60s, 1970), Düsseldorf (1958), Hamburg (1958), London (1958, 1971), Copenhagen (1958), Rome (1958), Venice (1958), Basle (1958), Berne (1971), Munich (1971), New York (1971) and Tel Aviv (1972).

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