Nisson Abramovich Shifrin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shifrin, Nisson Abramovich


Born June 16 (28), 1892, in Kiev; died Apr. 3, 1961, in Moscow. Soviet stage designer. People’s Artist of the RSFSR (1958). Member of the CPSU from 1942.

Shifrin studied in Kiev, at A. A. Murashko’s school of drawing and painting (1912–15), A. A. Ekster’s studio (1918–19), and the Ukrainian Academy of Arts (1920–21). He taught in several schools in Moscow, including the Vkhutein (1929–30), the Polygraphic Institute (1931–32), and the A. V. Lunacharskii Institute of Theatrical Arts (1934–36). He became a member of the Society of Easel Painters in 1925.

Shifrin was principal stage designer at the Central Theater of the Soviet Army from 1935 to 1961. Several of his most important designs were for productions of the Moscow Art Theater, including Lavrenev’s The Break (1950) and Chekhov’s The Seagull (1960), and of the Malyi Theater, notably Sofronov’s The Moscow Character (1948). At the Central Theater of the Soviet Army he executed designs for Korneichuk’s The Destruction of the Squadron (1934), Shakespeare’s The Tamingofthe Shrew (1937), a dramatization of Sholokhov’s Virgin Soil Upturned (1957), and Salynskii’s The Drummer Girl (1958).

Shifrin suited his designs to the stage director’s conception of each production. He carefully thought out the use of space and integrated painted scenery, including backdrops and borders, into the stage action. He also worked as a painter and illustrated several books, including V. V. Mayakovsky’s Whom Should One Be? (1929).

Shifrin was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1949 and 1951.


Khudozhnik v teatre. Leningrad, 1964.
Moia rabota v teatre, [Moscow, 1966.]


Vystavka proizvedenii narodnogo khudozhnika RSFSR, laureata Gosudarstvennykh premii Nissona Abramovicha Shifrina. 1892–1961. [Catalog.] Introduction article by M. N. Pozharskaia. Moscow, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.