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Vasilyevich Kuzmin

Russia • 1890−1987

(12.19.1890., Serdobsk, Saratov province - 9.1. 1987, Moscow), schedule. In Serdobsk he graduated from a real school. He studied at the drawing school of the OPKh (1912-14) under I. Ya. Bilibin, A. A. Rylov, N. K. Roerich, at VKhUTEIN (1922-24) under P. A. Shilingovsky and E. S. Kruglikova. Member of the 1st World War and Civil War. Illustrator of works of Russian and foreign classical literature: the novel by A. S. Pushkin “Eugene Onegin” (1932, a gold medal at the 1937 International Exhibition in Paris), the drama by M. Yu. Lermontov “The Masquerade” (1941), the tale of N. A. Leskov "Lefty" (1957), the poem by A. S. Pushkin "Count Nulin" (1959, a bronze medal at the International Exhibition of Book Art in Leipzig). In 1980 - a gold medal of the Academy of Arts of the USSR for illustrations to books: A. Pushkin's Epigrams (1979), N. S. Leskov's "Tales. Stories" (1973), N. G. Kurganova's "Brief Intricate Tales" (1976 ) The author of books: "The Circle of King Solomon" (1964), "Long and Recently" (1982), which reflect, among other things, heart-rending impressions, "The Artist and the Book" (1985), and others. A member of the Moscow Union of Artists (since 1938), honored Art Worker of the RSFSR (1966), Nar. thin RSFSR, corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Arts (1967).

People's Artist of the RSFSR (1972), corresponding member of the Academy of Arts of the USSR (1967).


Born in the city of Serdobsk, Penza region, where he graduated from a real school. The first experiments of N.V. Kuzmin in magazine graphics belong to this period: in 1906, his first drawings were printed in the magazine "Grif". In 1909, a nineteen-year-old self-taught woman from the provinces dared to send her drawings - an imitation of the then fashionable Englishman O. Beardsley - to the exquisite magazine of Moscow symbolists, "Libra." Drawings liked V.Ya. Bryusov, and they were printed. Printed vignettes Kuzmina and stiff St. Petersburg "Apollo".


In 1911, N.V. Kuzmin moved to St. Petersburg, where he studied at the Zvantseva school, at the Polytechnic Institute, and at the school of the Society for the Promotion of Artists under P. A. Schilling Institute of Art History. In the years 1922-24. studied at the graphic faculty of the Academy of Arts.


In the late 1920s a group of young artists rallied in Moscow, united by a craving for a lively, fast, instantly responsive drawing experience - group "13". Kuzmin was one of its organizers. "To draw without corrections, without retouching. So that you can feel the pace in the work of the draftsman, as well as in the work of the acrobat!" - explained the artist. From street sketches, this light manner was carried over to books.


In "Eugene Onegin" A.S. Pushkin (1933) Kuzmin illustrated with hundreds of fluent drawings not so much the plot as the author’s digressions, the poet’s abandoned thoughts on the fly, his lyrical states, forcing the reader to perceive a familiar novel in a completely new way. First drawings for "Eugene Onegin" A.S. Pushkin (1928-1932, edition 1933; gold medal of the International Exhibition in Paris, 1937) is the result of a deep creative insight into the spirit and character of Pushkin characters.

Kuzmin illustrates Russian and Western classics ("Actress" E. de Goncourt, 1933; "Theater" by A. de Musset, 1934, etc.) and books by contemporary authors, especially books about the life of writers - A.S. Pushkin, M.Yu. Lermontova, L.N. Tolstoy. He is attracted to ironic, parody texts: “Kozma Prutkov” (1933), “Tartarene from Tarascon” by A. Dode (1935).

The living freedom of Kuzmin’s fast line has somewhat weakened over the years - perhaps not without the influence of stupid editors and critics. But he retained in his later works his irony, a subtle connection with the spirit and style of the text, and not with just the details of the plot. He gladly took up books impossible for literal illustration.


The mastery of a free, graceful stylized drawing (sometimes tinted with watercolors), a subtle, witty interpretation of the style of the era and the emotional structure of the work, inventive humor and sharpness of satire - all this is typical for illustrations to N. S. Levsha’s Leskova (editions 1955, 1961), "Count Nulin" A.S. Pushkin (1959 edition, bronze medal I VA-59), "Notes to a Madman" N.V. Gogol (1960 edition), “Fruits of Meditation” (1962 edition) and Kozma Prutkov’s Alphabet (1966,1969 editions), Yu. N. Tynyanov’s Young Vitushishnikov (1966 edition), N.V. Kurganova (1976 edition), Epigram A.S. Pushkin (1979 edition).


The literary heritage of the master, his memoir essays and articles about artists close to him, musings on art, literature, and illustrations are also distinguished by the same qualities that Kuzmin’s drawings attract — the observation and humor, the ease and accuracy of the pen. As a writer, Kuzmin has been speaking since 1956. He wrote the book of memoirs “The Circle of King Solomon” (1964), the book “The Bar and the Word” (1967) on the relationship of fine art and literature, and the stories “Our Night Feeds with Fedya” (1970). Memories of Bely, entitled "Illustrating Andrei Bely."


Since 1923, about 130 publications with illustrations by N.V. Kuzmina - in the USSR, Italy, Israel, Holland, Canada, Czechoslovakia and other countries.

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