L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i
Monday, November 10, 2014
Open Door on a Garden, by Konstantin Somov, 1934
Konstantin Andreyevich Somov (30 November 1869, St. Petersburg – 6 May 1939, Paris), Russian artist associated with the Mir Iskusstva (World of Art) group. The son of Andrei Somov, art historian and Hermitage curator, he studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts from 1888 to 1897, from 1894 under Ilya Repin. After that he spent a few years in Paris in the circle of Leon Bakst, Alexander Benois, and other Russian friends who would soon make up the Mir Iskusstva movement.His early work was mainly landscape, but he was heavily influenced by late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century painting, and most of his subsequent work could be described as being of the fête galante genre, a type exemplified by the paintings of Watteau and Fragonard. (Needless to say, the late work featured here is atypical.) Working mostly in watercolor and gouache, and very prolific, much of his oeuvre is frankly erotic, sometimes pornographic. Like many of his Mir Iskusstva colleagues, he did much work for the theater and for publication, but he was also an excellent portrait painter. After the Revolution, Somov emigrated to the United States, but soon returned to Paris, where he died at the age of sixty-nine, and was buried at the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian cemetery.
Stephen O'Donnell, painter and singer/performer. A mid-career fine artist, I have been showing professionally since 1995. Married to author and graphic designer Gigi Little, with whom I occasionally perform a mother and daughter singing act, Madeleine and Penny Prévert.