Andreev, Nikolai Andreevich

Andreev, Nikolai Andreevich

 

Born Oct. 14 (26), 1873, in Moscow; died Dec. 24, 1932, in Moscow. Soviet sculptor and graphic artist; Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR (1931).

Andreev studied in Moscow at the Stroganov School (1855–91) and at the School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture under S. M. Volnukhin (1892–1901). In his early works he was under the influence of the peredvizhniki (members of the Society of Wandering Exhibitions), as in Woman Reaper With a Child, a plaster cast done in 1899, which is at the Tret’iakov Gallery and the Kiev Museum of Russian Art. In his subsequent works (portrait of L. N. Tolstoy in bronze, 1905, at the Tret’iakov Gallery) he turned to the methods of impressionism in his search for a new plasticity in expression. In the monument to N. V. Gogol in Moscow (bronze and granite, 1904–09), with its distinctively expressive silhouette and pictorial freedom of composition, he created an image of the writer which is deeply individualistic and imbued with tragedy.

In the early years of the Soviet regime he participated in the realization of the Monumental Propaganda plan. In his statue Freedom (concrete, 1918–19; the head has been preserved at the Tret’iakov Gallery), his monuments to A. I. Herzen and N. P. Ogarev (cement with granite grit, 1918–22), and his monument to A. N. Ostrovskii (bronze and granite, 1924–29), all in Moscow, he achieved a monumentality and simplicity of form. A major contribution by Andreev to the history of Soviet art was his series of about 100 sculptures and his portraits in the graphic media of V. I. Lenin—the so-called Leniniana (1919–32, V. I. Lenin Central Museum and the Tret’iakov Gallery). Based on many life sketches of Vladimir ll’ich which were done directly in his office, they recreate his integrity, liveliness and versatility and are imbued with the deeply humanistic aspect of the leader. The series is characterized by the accuracy of realistic observations, the depth of exposure of many different psychological conditions, and the clarity and laconism of the plastic materials. The culmination of this series is the rendition of the inner composure and heroic purposefulness of V. I. Lenin in the statue Lenin-Leader (plaster cast, 1931–32, completed by V. A. Andreev).

From 1913 on, Andreev worked also as a theatrical designer for a number of productions of the Moscow Art Theater. His portraits in the graphic media of F. E. Dzerzhinskii, M.Gorky, K. S. Stanislavsky, V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, and others have an important place in the history of Soviet graphic portraiture. Andreev’s creativity played an important role in the formation of the art of socialist realism. Working jointly with Andreev from 1919 to 1928 was his brother Via-cheslav Andreevich Andreev (1890–1945), who was well known as the creator of the statue Worker With a Star, which was exhibited at the Soviet pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1939.

REFERENCES

Bakushinskii, A. V. N. A. Andreev, 1873–1932. Moscow, 1939.
Nikolai Andreevich Andreev: Vystavka proizvedenii. Moscow, 1958.
Trifonova, L. P. [Introductory article.] In Leniniana: Skul’ptor N. A. Andreev (album). [Leningrad, 1961.]