Russia • 1861−1939

Biography and information

Konstantin Alekseevich Korovin (November 23 (December 5), 1861, Moscow — September 11, 1939, Paris) - Russian painter and theater artist, a convinced and consistent impressionist.

Features of the artist Konstantin Korovin:fascination with light and colour is present but in comparison with the French Impressionists Korovin retains too much commitment to the subject image, the light and color to it often – and receiving method to write an object, but not the only reason to create a painting; the lack of Evanescence, light does not dissolve the subject; decorative; audism; the use of dark colors, including black tabooyoung Impressionists.

Famous paintings by Konstantin Korovin: "At the tea table","The balcony. Spanish women Leonora and Ampara", "Portrait of a chorus girl".

In one of the Parisian boulevards, putting an easel on the street, the artist worked. Accustomed to such phenomena passers-by sometimes stopped close, looking over your shoulder, and quietly commented, sometimes asking questions. Without taking his eyes from the canvas, the artist would have to have word with curious others. A couple of Russian tourists stared as bold, shining strokes, leaving the brush of the painter, come alive on the canvas. One of them could not resist: "Surprisingly these French artists own style!". "Russian is not worse!" answered the first Russian impressionist Konstantin Korovin.

The first Russian impressionist

That Korovin so called, is known to many. It is noteworthy that the impressionist it was before I learned about this direction. When a favorite teacher Vasily Polenovasked Korovin's impressionist if he is, he replied that he did not know what it is. Indeed, "portrait of a chorus girl" written in 1883. And in Paris Korovin visited for the first time in four years. Incidentally, 1883 is the heyday of the Association of traveling art exhibitions, worship, realism, vitality, exaltation of the educational role of art. And then there Korovin with his girl! Polenov even advised not to exhibit it, understanding it, than to have to face his student. And still I had to. "Daub, decadence" and other similar epithets awarded his paintings.

However, the Korovin's life in pre-revolutionary Russia was quite successful. And the General disposition he was easy, cheerful, it seemed, his character corresponded to his painting – the sun, shining, beautiful (in the best sense of the word). It was called Bones, you can be here, almost never – Konstantin Alekseevich. In the memory of his contemporaries he was a man, optimistic, cheerful. I had the impression that his life is like his art – happy, colorful, Sunny. Not at all! He had to face with severe tests.

Biography: childhood Konstantin Korovin

Birthplace of the artist Konstantin Korovin in a rich family. His grandfather, a Moscow merchant, held the post road, there was a whole army of coachmen. Lived in abundance. Son of the "king of drivers", Alex, even married the noblewoman Apollinaria Volkova. Alas, the prosperity was short – Alexey Korovin, first, inherited the business talent of his father (he was not transferred and grandchildren), and secondly, the epoch itself tripped up in Russia was rapidly built railway, and the drivers were out of work. Income Korovin rarely fell. Had to leave a rich merchant's house and leave the village. Father got a job as a accounting clerk for a factory that was barely possible to make ends meet. However, for small Bones, it was not a shock. In the village he loved, and the financial problems of the child do not touch. But father, they touched lightly. In 1881 Alexey Korovin has committed suicide. The theme of suicide in this in the life of Konstantin Korovin is not closed...


Father drawing, children were equally talented. The elder brother, also an artist, Sergey Korovinthe first paved road in the Moscow school of painting, sculpture and architecture. Followed the coast. There he became friendly with Levitanand his favorite teacher at the time was Savrasov. Korovin about it very fondly remembers. Savrasov by the time he descended, drank a lot. The students loved him, but from the School he was eventually fired. Very upset parting with the teacher, Korovin said, he in this place have nothing to do, and went to the St. Petersburg Academy of arts. Academic teaching seemed after College totally dead, divorced from reality. Stand there for a few months, Korovin was back in Moscow and found that at the school the new teacher Vasily Polenov. Polenov had a great impact on Korovin, became his favourite teacher, and in the atmosphere of the school brought a fresh wave. Polenov introduced to the student Savva Mamontovand soon Korovin became an active member of the Abramtsevo circlethat brought together the best artists, writers, musicians of the time. In a Private Opera of Mamontov, Konstantin Korovin, first performed as a theater artist. The creation of scenery he will do in a lifetime. In tsarist Russia Korovin was the principal decorator of the Imperial theatres in St. Petersburg Alexandrinka and the Mariinsky, Bolshoi and Maly in Moscow.

In the Abramtsevo circle Korovin became friends with Fedor Chaliapin, Mikhail Vrubel, Valentin Serov. With Serov together they went on a journey through the Russian North – with a light hand and generous purse Savva Mamontov. In Crimea, Korovin, too, first traveled with Mamontov and then often come back. Especially his heart was kind to Gurzuf. By the way, Korovin became one of the first Russian motorists. Loved to race in the Crimea by car, from time to time on a whim stopped, pulled out the easel, quickly wrote and then moved forward.

In Russia Korovin participated in exhibitions of the Wanderers, "world of art", Union of Russian artists. Abroad it was sent by the patron Savva Mamontov in 1888. First the artist looked at the paintings of the Impressionists, first wrote Paris – so beloved and so alive on his canvases. The year 1900 proved to be particularly successful for the execution of the Russian Department at the famous world exhibition in Paris Korovin was awarded the Legion of honor. Next year along with Serov, they began to teach at the Moscow school of painting and sculpture. A few years later, Korovin became an academician of painting. Life was happy, he was needed.

Personal life, family drama

Anne Fiedler, the chorister of the Private Opera of Mamontov, Korovin married in 1897, shortly before the birth of their second son Alex. Soon after, he bought an estate in Okhotino, Vladimir province – a place that is in exile, will be remembered as a lost Paradise. Korovin first child died in infancy. The artist considered himself the cause of his death, was convinced that he had failed to provide adequate care. Feeling this loss, he remained all his life, and his attitude to the second son was very disturbing, to him he poured out all unspent tenderness and seemed to try to compensate for the fact that were given to the first deceased child. Alas, the second son also got in trouble. At 16, he fell under the tram, the accident lost both legs. Since then, his life turned into a series of depression and suicide attempts. His character was initially unstable. In the end, after the death of his father, one of these attempts, he will bring to the end.

According to contemporaries, family life Korovin was not easy. Anna did not share the views of her husband, was not interested in his work and was not support him. However, she was very ill, suffered from angina pectoris, and the artist was exhausted, providing treatment and her son.

Korovin in the Soviet Russia and the emigration

Konstantin Korovin tried to find a place in revolutionary Russia. He was a member of the Commission for the protection of monuments of art and antiquities, continued theatrical and artistic activities, even his personal exhibition was held in 1921, and the following year in the Tretyakov gallery was arranged a retrospective show. But at the first opportunity he went to Okhotino, or in the Crimea, complaining: "How tired of politics!". However, it was briefly available at: Moscow apartment "condensed", it was in Okhotino requisitioned. Ring around Korovin was compressed. Commissar of education Anatoly Lunacharsky urged Korovin to leave. "Are you tired of the revolution, I understand. You should go abroad. There will be happy"–so he addressed Konstantin Korovin. It was 1923. The iron curtain has not yet fallen. Korovin left. The officially voiced version that he had gone to participate in his exhibition, or what has left the entire family for treatment of his wife and son.

Korovin was planning the exhibition, hoping to obtain from her the funds for the equipment. His paintings, when he left, he gave gallerist Croitoru. In the end, he simply disappeared, taking the picture, and raised money for them. Korovin said that the paintings were gone after the show in Holland and did not give a penny. However, the art critic Ivan Mozalevsky argues that Traitor left agent Korovin until the death of the artist. And, judging by the researcher collected the materials, and subsequently behaved extremely dishonestly. But Korovin had neither the business acumen nor the pressure and allowed itself to trace around your finger.

He did not sit without work, painted pictures, was actively involved in theatre activities, but has lived in poverty, were in bondage from unscrupulous agents and collectors. In his letters flashed mention of the obligation to write for someone 40 paintings, for which he received a small advance. This obligation (and also a wife and a son whose treatment required constantly a lot of money, and their own health Corvina left much to be desired) hung a stone around his neck for many years. In exile, he manifested his literary talent. He has collaborated with magazines, published a memoir. However, often it was just an attempt to push a full lack of money.

In pre-revolutionary Russia Korovin was famous, popular, loved. In Paris, too, is not forgotten, but... For French painting impressionism has already become yesterday. And the city he so enthusiastically wrote that few even of the French could compete with him were the harsh new homeland. Like and glory, and work, and recognition, but it is a constant struggle with an exhausting lack of money, lack of friends, understanding. He wanted to return to Russia! As longed for Okhotino, Abramtsevo mug! But there was no money, it was not possible to transport the family, do not have confidence in the fact that at home he will now need. And the country that he was nice – it was not more.

Author: Alain Esaulova