Petr Konchalovskii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Konchalovskii, Petr Petrovich


Born Feb. 9 (21), 1876, in Slaviansk, in present-day Donetsk Oblast, Ukrainian SSR; died Feb. 2, 1956, in Moscow. Soviet painter. People’s Artist of the RSFSR (1946). Became a member of the Academy of Arts of the USSR in 1947.

Konchalovskii studied at the Académic Julian in Paris from 1897 to 1898 and at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg from 1898 to 1907. A resident of Moscow, he was one of the founders of the Jack of Diamond association. He taught at the Moscow Free Art Studios from 1918 to 1921 and at Vkhutein (Higher Art and Technical Institute) from 1926 to 1929.

In his early paintings, Konchalovskii attempted to unite P. Cezanne’s structural use of color with the elemental, festive colors inherent to Russian folk art. His formal experiments were complemented by his sanguine, optimistic perception of the world. Examples of Konchalovskii’s early paintings are Portrait of G. B. lakulov (1910, Tret’iakov Gallery), Dry Paints (1912, Tret’iakov Gallery), Agave (1916, Tret’iakov Gallery), Family Portrait (painted in Sienna, 1912, Konchalovskii family collection), and The Locksmith’s Bench (1917, Konchalovskii family collection).

After the October Revolution, Konchalovskii no longer adhered to the principles of painting set forth by the Jack of Diamonds. Painting in a more direct, realistic manner, he became one of the foremost Soviet painters. The principal themes of his canvases became the affirmation of the joy and happiness of life. Konchalovskii’s still lifes, which are filled with the rapture of the sensuous beauty of the world and its wealth of colors, include Tobacco Leaves (1929, Konchalovskii family collection), The Lilacs (1933, Tret’iakov Gallery), and Bread, Ham, and Wine (1948, Tret’iakov Gallery).

Some of Konchalovskii’s portraits reflect a joy of living (for example, Portrait of O. V. Konchalovskaia, 1925, Tret’iakov Gallery; A. N. Tolstoy as a Guest of the Artist, 1941), and others deal with acute psychological problems and with intense and some-times dramatic experiences and states of mind (for example, Portrait of V. E. Meyerhold, 1938; Self-portrait, 1943—both in the Tret’iakov Gallery).

The national character of Konchalovskii’s work is particularly reflected in his landscapes The Novgorod Series (late 1920’s) and in his genre scenes, such as Return From the Fair (1926, Russian Museum, Leningrad) and The Floor Polisher (1946, Tret’iakov Gallery).

Konchalovskii was also a talented set designer. In addition, he has left a large legacy of graphic art. A recipient of the State Prize of the USSR in 1943, he was also awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and various medals.


Konchalovskii: Khudozhestvennoe nasledie. Introduction by A. D. Chegodaev. Moscow, 1964.
Neiman, M. L. P. P. Konchalovskii. Moscow, 1967.
Vystavka proizvedenii P. P. Konchalovskogo, 1876–1956. Catalog. Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.