Sergei Sudeikin

Born: 1882, St Petersburg
Died: 1946, New York

Painter, graphic artist, theatrical designer, illustrator. Born in St Petersburg in the family of a police superintendent called Yury Sudeikin (1882). Studied under Abram Arkhipov, Nikolai Kasatkin, Leonid Pasternak and Apollinary Vasnetsov at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1897–1902, 1903–09; suspended for a year for showing “obscene works” at a student exhibition), under Konstantin Korovin and Valentin Serov (1903–09) and under Dmitry Kardovsky at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1909–10). Collaborated with Nikolai Sapunov on the sets for Savva Mamontov’s opera company at the Hermitage Theatre in Moscow (1902–03). Illustrated the works of Maurice Maeterlinck (1903) and Mikhail Kuzmin (1912, 1915), collaborated with the Libra (1904–09), Apollo (1910), Satyricon and New Satyricon magazines. Changed from a Symbolist (early 1900s) to a Neo-Primitive style based on the traditions of Russian lubok, signboards and painted toys (late 1900s), combining the retrospective tendencies of the World of Art with elements of Cubism, Futurism and Expressionism (1910s). Collaborated with the Theatre Studio on Povarskaya, Halt of Comedians, New Theatre of Drama and the Chamber Theatre in Moscow and the Vera Komissarzhevskaya Theatre, Maly Opera Theatre and the House of Interludes in St Petersburg (1900s–10s). Helped to organise the Crimson Rose exhibition in Saratov (1904) and the Blue Rose exhibition in Moscow (1907). Had an affair with homosexual poet Mikhail Kuzmin (1906) and married the actress Olga Glebova (1907). Took up again with Mikhail Kuzmin (1910) and had an affair with Konstantin Somov (1911). Joined the World of Art (1911). Lived in a ménage à trois with Olga Glebova and Mikhail Kuzmin (1912). Created sets after designs by Léon Bakst and Nicholas Roerich for Sergei Diaghilev’s Saisons Russes in Paris (1912–13). Eloped to Paris with the dancer Vera de Bosset (1913), whom he subsequently married (1918), but who left him to become the mistress (1921) and second wife (1940) of Igor Stravinsky. Helped to found and decorate such cabaret bars in Petrograd as the Stray Dog (1911–15) and Halt of Comedians (1916–17). Moved to the Crimea (1917) and Tiflis (1919), where he decorated the Qimerioni cabaret bar with Lado Gudiashvili and David Kakabadze. Lived in Paris (1920–22) and New York (1922–46). Designed sets for Nikita Balieff’s Théâtre de la Chauve-Souris and Anna Pavlova’s Russian Ballet Company (1922–24), Metropolitan Opera in New York (1924–31) and Covent Garden in London (1939–40). Worked at Hollywood on We Live Again (1934), Samuel Goldwyn’s film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel Resurrection (1899). Died in New York and buried at Brooklyn Cemetery (1946). Contributed to the exhibitions of Crimson Rose (1904), Union of Russian Artists (1905, 1907–09), Moscow Fellowship of Artists (1905–10), World of Art (1906, 1911–17, 1921), Blue Rose (1907), Salon d’Automne (1907), Wreath-Stephanos (1907–08), Russian Landscapes (1918), Russian Artists of the World of Art Group in Paris (1921), American Artists from the Russian Empire (2009), St Petersburg Parisians ( 2010), exhibitions of Russian art in Paris (1906, 1910), Berlin (1906), Vienna (1908), London (1921), New York (1923, 1924), Chicago (1923), Pittsburgh (1924), Brussels (1928) and Wilmington (1932) and the Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia honouring the 150th anniversary of the signing of the US Declaration of Independence (1926). One-man shows in New York (1924, 1933, 1964), Chicago (1927–28) and Pittsburgh (1929).

Random articles