Konstantin Korovin. Painting. Theater. Dedicated to the 150th anniversary of his birth. With the participation of Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein)

March 29 - August 12, 2012


At the exhibition participate works from the collection of Sepherot Foundation 

The largest exhibition project is dedicated to Konstantin Korovin (1861-1939), a famous painter of the turn of 18th-20th centuries. The artist organically assimilated and reinterpreted the painting traditions of modern European art, earning the reputation of «the first Russian Impressionist.»
The Gallery holds the long-awaited and large-scale retrospective view on K. Korovin’s creation (about 240 of the best works from the Tretyakov Gallery, 22 museums in Russia, from Kazakhstan and Belarus, as well as from private collections) ninety years after the first exhibition, held in 1922 during the life of the artist.Following the successful exhibition of I. Levitan’s creation, the Tretyakov Gallery continues to introduce the audience to the heyday of the Moscow School of Painting, to which K. Korovin belonged. Picturesqueness, colorfulness, brightness of palette, peculiar to the art of representatives of the Union of Russian artists, is best reflected in his work. The exhibition reflects Korovin’s diverse activities in painting, theater, monumental art. The display within easel painting is divided into sections: «Creation of 1880-1890s», «Portraits», «North», «Okhotino. Rural landscapes», «Paris»,«Crimea. Gurzuf», «Nocturnes», «Still life», «Pre-revolutionary art», «Immigration».K. Korovin was born in Moscow into a family of merchants, who after the devastation passed to petty bourgeoisie. In 1875, he joined the department of architecture at Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, but almost immediately moved to the Painting Department (he studied until 1886.) The influence of his teachers is particularly noticeable in his early works, among them A. Savrasov («Early Spring», 1870. STG, «Autumn», 1880. National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus) and V. Polenov on whose dacha outside Moscow the budding artist spent several summers, making such famous works as «Nasturtiums» (1888), «At the tea table» (1888) (both in Polenov Culture Preserve), «In the Boat” (1888. STG). Even in these works, he intuitively used impressionistic techniques, it especially applies to the innovative painting «Portrait of a chorus girl» (1887. STG).

Портрет Николая Ефимовича Эфроса. 1913
Portrait of Nikolai Efros. 1913

Since late 1880s, K. Korovin began traveling to Europe, where he got acquainted with the modern Western European art. Under the influence of Claude Monet and Renoir, he began to portray female figures against the light, placing them on the balcony, in the open doorway, or against a landscape, as in the painting «In the country” (1895. STG). The artist’s works of the late 1890s («Paper Lantern», 1896. STG, «The Baths”, 1890. Private collection) display features of decorativism, reflected in brightness, bold colors and masterly performance.Traveling to Paris, K. Korovin got under the special charm of the city with its unrivaled aesthetics. He skillfully managed to convey the life of the French capital in the hours of morning awakening, but most of all in the evening, in the lights of the streets and boulevards. («Paris. Boulevard des Capucines», 1902, 1906 and 1911, «Paris in the morning» 1906. All of them in STG). In Paris, K. Korovin became interested in symbolism, and returning to Russia, he visited the famous lectures of M. Durnovo, communicated with the poet K. Balmont. During these years he painted the «Northern Idyll» (1892, STG) and the «Muse» (1890, STG). K. Korovin, along with A. Golovin, S. Malyutin, A. Benoit, L. Bakst, is attributed to the reformers of the theater. They treated the play as a single stage space, where the role of sets, costumes, music and actors’ performance are equally important. K. Korovin’s gift of theatrical decorator appeared in 1885 in the works for the Russian Private Opera of S. Mamontov. In 1900, K. Korovin headed the theatrical décor shop of Imperial theaters - the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg.

Портрет Н.Н.Вышеславцевой. 1919
Portrait of N.N. Vysheslavceva 
1919

For two decades, the artist made sets for more than 80 ballets, operas and dramas. Scenic images of the characters, which he created for the singers F. Chaliapin, L. Sobinova, A. Nezhdanova, ballet dancers S. Fedorova, E. Geltser, dramatic actors A. Lensky, M. Ermolova, earned universal recognition.The best sketches of sets and costumes for the ballets «Don Quixote» by L. Minkus, «Humpbacked Horsev by Ts. Puni, «Nutcracker» by Tchaikovsky, for the operas «The Demon” by Rubinstein, «Khovanshchina «by Mussorgsky»«Sadko» and «The Tale of Tsar Saltan» by Rimsky-Korsakov, have been selected for the exhibition from various museums. The show of two unique, miraculously preserved sets and costumes for the opera by Rimsky-Korsakov's «The Golden Cockerel» (staged in 1934, the theater in Vichy, France) will be a real discovery for the public. The whole stage material to this performance was once bought by the opera singer, permanent performer of Astrologer’s part, G. Raisov. Later the collection was purchased by A. Lyapin, the grandson of the artist V. Polenov, and in 1986 he donated it to A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum. For the first time, the exhibition will present the real scenery for the play «Stan Shemakhan Queen» and «Capital City». Life in Okhotin was an important period in the creative biography of K. Korovin. In 1897, the artist bought land near Pereslavl-Zaleski and built a one-story pinewood, which was often visited by F. Shalyapin, V. Serov, S. Vinogradov, M. Gorky. The genre of nocturne appeared in the creation of Korovin in Okhotin. The Crimean landscapes of K. Korovin constitute a separate page of his work. In 1904, the artist visited the hard aching Anton Chekhov in Yalta («Cafe in Yalta,» 1905. STG), and later he bought land on the shore of the Gulf of Gurzuf. K. Korovin made the project for the villa «Salambo» in 1910, which offers a beautiful view of the sea («Balcony in the Crimea» 1910. Ulyanovsk Regional Art Museum). Impressions of the Crimean markets with their wealth and beauty inspired the creation of still-lives («Fish, wine and fruit», 1916 and 1917. Both in STG, «Fish”, 1916. State Russian Museum). K. Korovin is known not only as a painter, but also as an architect and decorator. The section of monumental art displays four out of ten panels, performed by the artist for the pavilion «Far North» in the Nizhny Novgorod Art and Industrial Exhibition in 1896, they have been specially restored for the exhibition. They were ordered by the sponsor and industrialist S.

Рыбаки. 1914
Fishermen. 1914

Mamontov, who, dreaming about the development and popularization of the remote and rich land, promoted Korovin and Serov’s travel to the North in 1894. A few years after the exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod, on the initiative of S. Mamontov, the panels decorated the walls of the main lobby of the Yaroslavl station in Moscow, and in 1961 were transferred to the State Tretyakov Gallery. The big painting «Hammerfest. Northern Lights» (1894-1895. STG) summarizes the impressions of the artist from the trip to the North (Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, etc.) The decorative panel «Old Monastery» (1906. STG) is one of the discoveries of the exhibition. When it got in the Tretyakov Gallery in 1946, it had been long stored in the storerooms. One can discern the characteristics of modernity in the style of the frieze (over seven meters in length). After the revolution, having lost his studio, canvases and paints, K. Korovin was in a very difficult situation. Having moved from Moscow to Ostrovno, Udomlya lakeside in the Tver region, the artist began painting from memory, making miniatures on cardboard. During this difficult period of his life, he created remarkable paintings, mostly portraits of close friends: «Portrait of Fyodor Shalyapin» (1921. The Glinka National Museum of Musical Culture), «Portrait of E. Vakhtangov» (1922. Vakhtangov’s Museum ), etc. In 1923, the artist and his family moved to Germany and then to France, where he spent the last years of his life. A catalog, surpassing the number of works of the exposition, has been issued for the exhibition. It includes the works from forty-seven museums of Russia and the former Soviet museums. There have been made the electronic edition «Konstantin Korovin. Painting. Theater.» and a separate site.

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