Mikhailovich Korzhev

Russia • 1925−2012
Helium Mikhailovich Korzhev (Korzhev-Chuvelev; July 7, 1925 - August 27, 2012, Moscow) - Soviet and Russian painter, teacher, professor.

Features of the artist Helium Korzheva: art critics considered Korzhev a representative of the "severe style", but the artist himself had a different opinion. “The harsh style began Petrov-Vodkin and Deineka, not we! ”- said Helium Mikhailovich. Tragedies and losses, a high rush and a feeling of bitter emptiness, the grotesque on the verge of a foul - describing the artist's work, do not spare epithets. The master perfectly possessed technical skills for creating his emotional, expressive works, drawing in a realistic manner, but having developed his own style and handwriting. Working at a time when socialist realism occupied the leading role, the artist called his style "social realism", reflecting the deep thoughts and feelings of his contemporaries. For many, his textbook works, replicated in textbooks, are still most valuable, but the general public has recently learned about the “other” Helium Korzhev, in particular, getting to know his work as part of a major retrospective.

Famous paintings by artist Helium Korzheva: "Raising the flag" of Triptych "Communists"series of paintings "Scorched by the fire of war"cycle "Turlyk"cycle "Don Quixote".

Continuity and heredity
Helium Mikhailovich Korzhev was born into a family of landscape architect Mikhail Petrovich Korzhev and teacher of Russian language and literature Serafima Mikhailovna Korzheva (nee Chuveleva). Representative of the Soviet avant-garde, Mikhail Korzhev was one of those who laid the foundations of Soviet landscape architecture. With his participation and leadership, almost all boulevards and parks in Moscow were created, including the Central Park of Culture and Rest, the Main Botanical Garden, and Izmailovsky Park. Among his friends-architects he was nicknamed "Don Quixote landscape". Serafima Mikhailovna devoted 40 years to teaching, raised three children: a son, Helium, and two daughters, Vetta and Eldina.

The boy's talent for drawing was noticed by his parents: in addition to schoolwork, little Helium went to a children's studio at the State Museum of Fine Arts. Later he began to attend the art studio, where he studied under the guidance of Antonina Petrovna Sergeeva, a student Valentina Serova and Konstantin Yuon. In 1939, on the advice of the teacher, Korzhev entered the newly opened Moscow Secondary Art School and was immediately admitted to the third grade.

During the war
When the Great Patriotic War began, Helium Korzhev finished sniper courses, but did not get to the front. His art school was sent to evacuation, to Bashkiria - the students spent two years in the village of Voskresenskoye. As Helium Korzhev later recalled, “we, the city boys, having remained for two years without museums and exhibitions, saw that beauty is in nature, in ordinary people, that surrounded us”. In 1944, the school returned to the capital, where a reporting exhibition of students' works was organized. All students were admitted to the Moscow Art Institute. Starting from the third year, Helium Korzhev became a student in the workshop. Sergey Vasilievich Gerasimov. After the end of the war, Korzheva had a chance to work together with fellow students in the Pushkin Museum, where students of the Moscow Institute of Wooden Arts helped to sort out the masterpieces of the Dresden Gallery.

Searches and first projects
Helium Korzhev graduated from Moscow Art Institute in 1950, it was time to search - his own, plastic language, technique. It was necessary to understand how to make a living by creativity and at the same time maintain the freedom of expression. Korzhev participates in youth exhibitions, at the invitation of Sergei Gerasimov, teaches painting at the Stroganov School. “... This job was useful for me. Teaching others, I studied myself, ”the artist recalled. Along the way, he began working with publishers, his first work was to illustrate Arkady Gaidar’s book Hot Stone.

In 1954, at the Exhibition of works by young Moscow artists, Korzhev presented his first finished painting. "In the days of the war"which a year later was exhibited at the All-Union Art Exhibition in the Tretyakov Gallery. Korzheva was accepted as a member of the Moscow Union of Artists without a mandatory Ph.D. This was facilitated by his teacher Sergei Gerasimov and the artist Pavel Sokolov-Skalya, in the brigade of which Korzhev worked on the creation of a panel for the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition.

With his future wife Kira Bahteeva Helium Korzhev met in the MSHSH, where they entered at the same time. Together they were evacuated, then entered the Moscow Institute of Art, married in 1946. And, although Kira graduated from the acting department of GITIS in 1953, she did not become an actress, remaining an artist for her whole life. Her favorite genres were landscape and still life, and her main love was wild flowers, which the artist wrote especially often. The Korzhevs had two daughters: Irina (1953), who became a glass artist, and Anastasia (1964), an artist working in the genre of landscape and still life. Helium Korzhev recalled: “All members of my family are artists, and together we make up a small union where almost all specialties are: painters, sculptors, monumentalists, applied artists, designers. There are no schedules, but a small grandson is growing and there is hope that he will fill this gap. This, of course, is a joke, but it is joyful that art will live in our family when there are no older representatives. ” Grandson Ivan was born in 1973 and became a sculptor.

Balance between realism and reality
Korzhev becomes visiting, in 1956 he visits Italy, a year later - Syria and Lebanon, and a little later - France. The artist constantly participates in major exhibitions, is elected a member of the Board of the Moscow branch of the Union of Artists of the RSFSR.

In 1960, Geliy Korzhev completed work on triptych "Communists" - one of his most famous works, for which a year later he was awarded the Gold Medal of the USSR Academy of Arts. In 1962, his painting "Painter" It was presented at the 31st Venice Biennale. Korzhev found a balance between the conformity of the "Soviet reality" and the desire for freedom of expression, without interfering with his inner "I". Triptych "Communists", which became a textbook and brought him many awards and diplomas, provided the artist with a kind of blank check. This gave him the opportunity to travel abroad regularly, work in Italy, visit the Netherlands, the UK, India, participate in international exhibitions. Korzhev himself did not consider himself a socialist realist, instead giving his work the definition of “social realism,” depicting “human life in all complexity,” while rejecting plausible “naturalism” and pictorial cliches.

In 1964, Helium Korzhev was invited to teach at the Moscow Art and Industrial University at the Department of Monumental Art, which he soon headed (and remained in that post until 1986). In 1966, the artist was awarded the academic title of professor. His paintings are classics of social realism, which the Tretyakov Gallery and the Russian Museum acquire for their collections. Titles, honor, high teaching position - you could rest on your laurels. But Korzhev continues active creative work and soon presents polyptychs. "Scorched by the fire of war". Korzhev works a lot with young artists, takes an active part in the organization of their exhibitions.

Away from the hustle and bustle
By the end of the 70s, the artist gradually departed from active social work. He begins a cycle of phantasmagoric paintings. "Turlyk"writing a landmark picture "Don Quixote"And nurtures ideas for the" Biblical "series. "Nativity of Christ", "Annunciation", "Crucifixion" ... Expelling from himself the communist propaganda of atheism, Geliy Korzhev wrote his "Biblical cycle" for a long time, leaving all official posts after the death of his parents in 1986. “There are enemies, there are friends, but there is no politics” - this is how he spoke about the subjects of his canvases. "Annunciation" Korzhev wrote ten years, many times rewrote the picture "Adam and Eve"... Korzhev refused the post of president of the USSR Academy of Arts, for which he was nominated in 1991. "As always, the dream lies ahead, and as always, is unavailable." Following the "Biblical" series - a series of "Christian" paintings ...
For the last two decades, the master has been working away from people and fuss. The paintings painted by Heliy Korzhev in 2012 were called "The last hours on earth" and "Winner". With them he completed his creative and earthly journey. August 27, 2012 Helium Korzheva was gone. There is a monument on his grave, the authors of which were his daughter Irina Korzheva and grandson Ivan. In 2014, at the initiative of the artist’s family, the Foundation for the Cultural and Historical Heritage of Helium Korzhev was created. In 2016 in the State Tretyakov Gallery held a large personal exhibition of the artist. The museum received a gift from his work.
Go to biography


View all publications


All exhibitions of the artist
View all artist's artworks
Whole feed