Mikhail Larionov

A Soldier Resting 1911

Mikhail Fiodorovich Larionov was born in Tiraspol, Moldova on June 3, 1881 and died in Fontenay-aux-Roses, near Paris, on May 10, 1964. He was the son of Fiodor Mikhailovich Larionov, a doctor and a pharmacist, and Aleksandra Fiodorovna Petrovskaia, but he grew up in his grandparents' home in Tiraspol. He attended the Voskresenskii Technical High School in Moscow and in 1898 entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Here he met Natal'ia Goncharova, who remained his lifelong companion. His imaginative work soon caught the attention of colleagues and critics and in1906 he was invited to exhibit with the Union of Russian Artists and to participate in the Russian Art exhibition at the Salon d'Automne in Paris. When Larionov met Nikolai Riabushinskii, editor of the Zolotoe runo (the Golden Fleece), the famous art mecenas became the artist's chief patron and in 1908 helped him organize the "Golden Fleece" exhibition of the modern French painting in Moscow. As a result of this exhibition, many artists, including Larionov, turned away from Symbolism and started to experiment with Post-Impressionism. In 1910, Larionov was expelled by the Moscow School of Painting for organizing a demonstration against the school's teaching methods. He was the founder of the Jack of Diamonds group, and with them he exhibited a remarkable series of paintings, among them the Soldiers (1910), created during his military service. The artist soon deserted the Jack of Diamonds for the more radical Donkey's Tail, which held an exhibition in 1912. In 1912 he initiated two very important movements: Rayonism (Rayism) and Neo-primitivism. Rayonism was inspired by Italian Futurism and Neo-primitivism and represented a development of the artist's Fauvist and Expressionist interests. ...

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