Taras Gaponenko

Born: 1905, Staraya Zavoron (Smolensk Province)
Died: 1993, Moscow
Socialist Realism

Painter, graphic artist, teacher, writer on art. Born in the family of a peasant called Gury Gaponenko in the village of Staraya Zavoron in Smolensk Province (1905). Studied under Pavel Kuznetsov, Vladimir Favorsky and Konstantin Istomin at the VKhUTEMAS/VKhUTEIN in Moscow (1924–30). Member of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (1928–31) and the Russian Association of Proletarian Artists (1931–32). Painted Socialist Realist works depicting life on Soviet collective farms (1929–34), the history of the Communist Party (1940) and the Second World War (1942–46). Winner of the Stalin Prize (1947). Taught at the Central Studio of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions and the Faculty of Graphic Art of the Vladimir Potemkin Pedagogical Institute in Moscow (1952–53). Corresponding member of the Academy of Arts of the USSR (1954). Honoured Artist of the RSFSR (1954), People’s Artist of the RSFSR (1968), People’s Artist of the USSR (1976). Visited Italy (1963). Painted landscapes and still-lifes (1965–80). Died in Moscow and buried in the village of Staraya Zavoron in Smolensk Region (1993). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1929), including All Creatures Great and Small: Russian Animal Art (18th to 21st Centuries) at the Russian Museum in St Petersburg (2004), Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne in Paris (1937, gold medal), New York World’s Fair (1939–40), 500 Anos de Arte Russa – Dos Ícones à Arte Contemporânea at Oca in the Parque do Ibirapuera in Sâo Paolo (2002) and a posthumous one-man show in Moscow (1996).

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