Pyotr Konchalovsky, founding father of Russian avant-garde art

Pyotr Konchalovsky, Self-portrait in Grey
If there’s no light, no painting will emerge”, the well-known Russian painter Pyotr Konchalovsky used to say. February 21st marks the 135th birth anniversary of the remarkable master of the portrait and of the landscape genre. Besides, Konchalovsky, who was the founding father of the Russian avant-garde art, was an officially recognized painting academician and the author of more than 5,000 paintings. And another fact of importance here is that he is the representative of a powerful artistic dynasty, which today as before plays a pivotal role in Russia’s culture: suffice it to mention here the names of Konchalovsky’s grandchildren - such as film directors Nikita Mikhalkov and Andrei Konchalovsky.

Pyotr Konchalovsky died at the age of 80, and it would be good to mention here that half of his life he lived in tsarist Russia and the other half – in Soviet Russia. Pyotr Konchalovsky dedicated himself to painting, which was his only passion, an art critic from St. Petersburg, Yevgeniya Petrova, says. And as distinct from his colleagues, he was not subjected to repressions on the part of the Soviet authorities.

"The Russian expert says that he was neither imprisoned nor declared a formalist. That is why an opinion emerged at that time that Pyotr Konchalovsky had established good contacts with the Soviet-era times’ authorities. Many years have passed since his death, and now we can make an objective assessment of his work. It has become absolutely clear today that he was a non-conformist. Nobody has any doubts that Konchalovsky loved nature and painting as such." ...

Voice of Russia

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