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Article

M. N. Sokolov

(b Djadjur, Akhuryan district, July 20, 1928; d Erevan, Feb 24, 1975).

Armenian painter and stage designer . He studied at the Institute of Theatre and Art in Erevan (1952–4), as well as at the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) from 1954 to 1960. He benefited from the advice of the Armenian painter, Martiros Saryan, but developed a style of his own, with an intense use of colour similar to that of Fauvism. The influence of Armenian medieval art is strongly apparent in his landscapes, self-portraits and scenes of peasant life, for example Baking Lavash (1972; Erevan, Pict. Gal. Armenia). His work combines an uncommon and expressive richness of colour with a dramatic monumentality of composition. He had a one-man show in Erevan in 1962 and another in Moscow in 1969. In 1972 his studio was burnt down and a large number of his canvases destroyed. He was also a stage designer, producing designs, for example, for sets for Aram Khachaturian’s ballet ...

Article

M. N. Sokolov

[Vladimir] (Davidovich)

(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], March 30, 1896; d Tbilisi, July 20, 1980).

Georgian painter, draughtsman, illustrator and stage designer. From 1910 to 1914 he trained at the Tiflis School of Painting and Sculpture and from 1919 to 1926 at the Académie Ronson in Paris. While in Paris he became closely acquainted with Modigliani, Ignacio Zuloaga, Natal’ya Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov. His early works, with their theatrically romantic depictions of Georgian national life, fantastic and Symbolist motifs and surreal effects of colour, combine elements of the grotesque with a charming poetic mystery (e.g. the ‘Tsotskhali’ Fish, 1920; Tbilisi, Mus. A. Georg.). His affinity with ancient Georgian and Persian art, of which he was a connoisseur, intensified on his return to Georgia in 1926; his colours became shimmering and tinged with gold, and, at the same time, the visual link with theatre became even stronger (many of his paintings have opera or ballet performances as their subjects or portray actresses in costume). He frequently depicted fantastic and mythological subjects (e.g. ...

Article

M. N. Sokolov

(Nestorovich)

(b Kukhi, nr Kutaisi, Aug 20, 1889; d Tbilisi, May 10, 1952).

Georgian painter, collagist, stage designer and film maker. He was born into a peasant family and studied from 1909 to 1916 in the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at the University of St Petersburg. From 1910 to 1915 he also studied painting and drawing in the studio of L. Ye. Dmitriyev-Kavakazsky (1849–1916). With Pavel Filonov he became a member of the St Petersburg artistic group Intimnaya Masterskaya (The Intimate Studio). The group’s manifesto (1914) proclaimed the beginning of a new era in art, awarded a central importance to Filonov’s principle of sdelannost’ (‘madeness’) and drew attention to the fundamental structural principles of artistic language. The manifesto was one of the most original developments of the pre-revolutionary avant-garde in Russia.

Kakabadze was an outstanding representative of the artistic avant-garde in Georgia. In his work innovation was always combined with a deep interest in Georgian national traditions, on which he was an expert. He studied medieval Georgian ornament while still a student, and in ...

Article

(b Feodosiya, Dec 24, 1867; d Monte Carlo, Aug 17, 1968).

Russian stage designer of Abkhazian descent. In 1893, after studying under Vasily Polenov at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, he went to Paris, where he later joined the Montparnasse art circle established in 1904 by Yelizaveta Kruglikova. From 1891 he worked on easel paintings, but in 1906 he was appointed head of the St Petersburg studio of stage design. His most significant designs during this period were for Vsevolod Meyerhold’s production (1908) of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the Mariinsky Theatre. In 1911–12 he worked at the Starinny Theatre alongside artists from the World of Art group, such as Nicholas Roerich, Ivan Bilibin, Yevgeny Lansere and Nikolay Kalmakov (1873–1955). Shervashidze also worked as a draughtsman, a book illustrator, a dress designer, and as a critic and theoretist, publishing articles in Apollon, Zolotoye runo, Mir iskusstvo and Iskusstvo. He lived in Sukhumi for a while from ...

Article

Mark Allen Svede

(b nr Cēsis, April 28, 1896; d Tbilisi, Georgia, July 14, 1944).

Latvian painter, printmaker, ceramicist, interior designer, tage and film set designer and theorist. He was the foremost ideologue for modernism in Latvia and was one of its greatest innovators. His militant defence of avant-garde principles befitted his experience as a soldier and as one of the artists who, after World War I, was denied a studio by the city officials and staged an armed occupation of the former premises of the Riga Art School. At the end of the war he painted in an Expressionist manner: In Church (1917; Riga, priv. col., see Suta, 1975, p. 19), for example, is an exaltation of Gothic form and primitivist rendering. Unlike his peers Jāzeps Grosvalds and Jēkabs Kazaks, he was extremely interested in Cubism and Constructivism, the theories of which informed his paintings, drawings, prints and occasional architectural projects of the 1920s. At this time he and his wife, the painter ...

Article

(b Dresden, 1933).

Israeli sculptor, draughtsman and stage designer of German birth. His family left Germany in 1935 to settle in Palestine and there he studied at the Technical School of Tel Aviv until 1949. After serving in the Israeli army he returned to Germany in 1953 to design sets for Bertolt Brecht and the Berliner Ensemble and in 1956 he produced sets for Brecht’s Der gute Mensch von Sezuan. In 1957 he designed theatre sets in the Netherlands, Germany and Israel, by which time he was sculpting in iron, creating works such as Chariot (1956; see 1980 exh. cat.). He had his first one-man show in 1956 at the Santee Landwer Gallery in Amsterdam. In the 1960s he largely used bronze and iron to make his sculptures and assemblages, often incorporating weapon parts into them, as in Aggression (1964; see 1967 exh. cat., pl. 55). Other works of this period are similarly disturbing, such as ...

Article

V. V. Vanslov

( Bagratovich )

(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], Jan 13, 1909; d 1989).

Georgian stage designer. He studied at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts under Iosif Sharleman’ (1880–1957), at the Higher Artistic and Technical Institute (Vkhutein, formerly Vkhutemas) under Isaak Rabinovich (1894–1961) and Nisson Shifrin (1892–1961) and at the Leningrad (now St Petersburg) Academy of Arts under Mikhail Bobyshov (1885–1964). He started working in the theatre in 1927, and from 1932 to 1936 he was the principal designer of the Paliashvili Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Tbilisi, for which he also designed productions in later years. His best works at this theatre were his stagings of the ballets Serdtse gor (‘Heart of the hills’; 1936) with music by Andrey Balanchivadze and Othello (1957) with music by Aleksey Machavariani. From 1937 Virsaladze worked for the Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Leningrad; from 1940 to 1941 and from 1945 to 1962...

Article

V. Rakitin

( Bogdanovich )

(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], Jan 2, 1884; d Erevan, Dec 28, 1928).

Georgian stage designer and painter of Armenian origin, active in Russia . He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1901–3) but was expelled after a disagreement over the teaching methods. Posted to the Far East during military service, he became acquainted with Far Eastern decorative art, which inspired the works he exhibited with the Blue Rose group after his return to Moscow in 1907 (e.g. The Races, 1905; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.). His work of this time refers to traditional Chinese and medieval European art refracted through Art Nouveau, in an attempt to create a new decorative style in easel painting. In Moscow he often designed the décor for artistic soirées and balls, creating architecturally decorative compositions whose basic components were painted panels. In 1910 he travelled to Italy and in 1912–13 he worked in Paris, where he became acquainted with Sonia Delaunay and Robert Delaunay. In ...