Lev Premirov

Born: 1912, Saratov
Died: 1978

Artist. Born in Saratov in the family of Mikhail Premirov (1912). Moved with his family to Samara. Arrested in his second year of art school (1934). Sent to Ulyanovsk and Ukhta. Worked in the prison studio of art. Painted slogans, posters and commissions for the prison governors, avoiding such harder tasks as felling trees or digging trenches. Sketched works from life, which was forbidden and had to be hidden. Released (1940). Rearrested (1942). Sent to Ukhta and Balkhash of Karlag, where up to 250 inmates were held in barracks intended for fifty. Settled in Karaganda following his release. Worked as a designer for various municipal organisations. Subsequent fate linked to Karaganda. Creative heritage consists of drawings on paper and diary memories in verse form. Drew on paper and painted in cheap watercolours and poster gouache (the only available materials). Only one oil canvas survived the artist’s death. Called by him the “picture of his life”, this is a landscape near Ukhta, depicting prisoners being taken to cut down trees in the forest. Many gaps remain in the artist’s biography. The main sources of information are his diaries and the recollections of those who knew him. Died (1978).

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