Pavel Kuznetsov


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Kuznetsov, Pavel Varfolomeevich

 

Born Nov. 5 (17), 1878, in Saratov; died Feb. 21, 1968, in Moscow. Soviet painter. Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR (1928).

From 1897 to 1903, Kuznetsov studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture under K. A. Korovin and V. A. Serov. One of the organizers of the Blue Rose exhibition in 1907, he was also a member of the World of Art (Mir iskusstva) and the Four Arts associations. Between 1917 and 1937 and between 1945 and 1948 , Kuznetsov taught at Vkhutemas-Vkhutein (State Higher Arts and Technical Studios-Higher Art and Technical Institute), the Moscow Institute of Fine Arts, and other institutes.

Strongly influenced in the first years of the 20th century by V. E. Borisov-Musatov, Kuznetsov was interested in the motifs of dreams and visions. In the mixture of reality and fantasy, in flat and linear rhythms, and in a shimmering palette, he strove to find a pictorial analogy to literary and musical symbolism (The Blue Fountain, tempera, 1905, Tret’iakov Gallery). Kuznetsov made a number of trips to the Trans-Volga Region and Middle Asia in the late teens and early twenties of this century, hoping to discover in the primitive nomadic life the age-old integrity of life and the harmony between man and nature. Afterward he created his Steppe or Kirghiz series, which included the paintings Mirage in the Steppe and Evening in the Steppe (both in tempera, 1912, Tret’iakov Gallery). These paintings are imbued with a contemplative tranquillity and are brightly illuminated; decorative generalization is combined with subtle gradations of tone.

During the 1920’s and 1930’s, Kuznetsov continued his search for decorative and monumental forms. In his easel paintings he used techniques of mural painting; the works The Shepherds’ Rest (1927, Russian Museum, Leningrad) and Mother (1930, Tret’iakov Gallery) were both executed al secco. Kuznetsov’s works of these years were often devoted to the transformed life of the Soviet East. While preserving the poetic system of images, Kuznetsov imparted to his compositions a greater dynamic quality and specificity in terms of space and time and endowed the human figures with vital immediacy (for example, Sorting Cotton, 1931, Tret’iakov Gallery). Kuznetsov painted numerous landscapes of the Crimea, Armenia, the Moscow region, and the coast near Riga. He also executed still lifes and portraits. In addition to his work in the areas of monumental painting and set design, he was a graphic artist (for example, the series of lithographs Hilly Bukhara and Turkestan, both 1923).

REFERENCES

Romm, A. G. P. V. Kuznetsov. Moscow, 1960.
[Alpatov, M. V.] P. V. Kuznetsov. Moscow [1972].

D. V. SARAB’IANOV

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