Gerasimov, Sergei Vasilevich

Gerasimov, Sergei Vasil’evich


Born Sept. 14 (26), 1885, in Mozhaisk, in present-day Moscow Oblast; died Apr. 20, 1964, in Moscow. Soviet painter, People’s Artist of the USSR (1958), doctor of the arts (1956), member of the Academy of Art of the USSR (1947).

Gerasimov studied at the Stroganov Central School of Arts and Crafts (1901-07) and the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture (1907-12) with S. V. Ivanov and K. A. Korovin. During the first years of Soviet power, Gerasimov worked on the decoration of revolutionary mass festivals in Moscow. In the 1920’s and the beginning of the 1930’s he painted portraits and genre pictures that were simply composed and almost monochromatic. These portraits and genre pictures, mainly of peasant life, depicted the difficulties encountered in the process of creating a new life (Peasant Woman With Rooster, 1924, Russian Museum, Leningrad; Frontline Soldier, 1926, Tret’iakov Gallery). Gerasimov addressed himself to historical revolutionary subjects, handling them in a monumental and epic style (The Oath of Siberian Partisans, 1933, Russian Museum). In the mid-1930’s, Gerasimov’s manner of painting changed. He embraced the plein air traditions of Russian painting, both in his genre pictures, among which Kolkhoz Festival (1937, Tret’iakov Gallery) stands out because of its saturated, buoyant, and exultant colors, and in his landscapes, which hold an important place in his work.

The landscapes of Gerasimov, who was one of the best Soviet landscape painters, are remarkable because of their poetic feeling, subtle understanding of nature, and harmony and freshness of color (Winter, 1939; The Ice Is Gone, 1945; the Mozhaisk Landscapes series, including At the Crossing and Oats, 1954—all in the Tret’iakov Gallery). During the years of the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), Gerasimov painted Mother of a Partisan (1943, partly reworked in 1949-50, Tret’iakov Gallery), a work penetrated with intense patriotic feeling. Of the subject pictures of the postwar period, the most significant is Toward the Power of the Soviets (1957, Tret’iakov Gallery). Gerasimov also illustrated the works of N. A. Nekrasov, A. M. Gorky, and others. He taught (with the rank of professor) at the Moscow State Higher Arts and Technical Studios and State Higher Institute of Art and Technology (1920-29), the Moscow Polygraphic Institute (1930-36), the Moscow Art Institute (1936-50), and the Moscow Higher School of Arts and Crafts (1950-64). He was first secretary of the board of directors of the Union of Artists of the USSR from 1958 to 1964. He received the Lenin Prize (1966), two orders, and various medals.


Razumovskaia, S. S. V. Gerasimov. Moscow, 1936.
Galushkina, A. S. S. V. Gerasimov. Leningrad, 1964.
Vystavka proizvedenii narodnogo khudozhnika SSSR S. V. Gerasimova … Katalog. Moscow [1966].