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A major exhibition of works by Konstantin Somov will be held in St. Petersburg

On March 24, 2017, a large-scale exhibition of works by Konstantin Somov (1869−1939), one of the brightest artists of the Silver Age, co-founder of the World of Art association, will open in St. Petersburg's KGallery. Viewers will see more than eighty paintings and graphic works of the artist, porcelain compositions made from his sketches, as well as book graphics from museum and private collections.Previously, retrospective exhibitions of the artist in Russia were held in 1969-1971 and were dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the master's birth. This spring, the KGallery will feature works from the collections of the State Russian Museum, the St. Petersburg State Museum of Theater and Musical Art, the Museum-Apartment to them. I. I. Brodsky, Anna Akhmatova Museum in the Fountain House, as well as from several dozen private foreign and Russian collections.
An extensive selection of the artist's works in the exhibition, which was prepared throughout the year, will complement the unique, previously not shown to the wide audience, photo archive provided by the artist’s KGallery family.A landscape with a rainbow Konstantin Andreevich Somov1919, 22 × 27 cm Konstantin Andreevich Somov was born into the family of a famous museum worker, curator of the Hermitage Andrei Ivanovich Somov, and from childhood was surrounded by objects of art and talk about it. Studying at the St. Petersburg school of Karl May, the foremost educational institution of his time, Konstantin Somov met and became close to Alexander Benois, Walter Nouvel, Dmitry Philosofov, and later, together with Sergei Dyagilev, they all participated in the creation of the society and the eponymous journal World of Art ". In 1888, Somov entered the Petersburg Academy of Arts; in 1894 he became a student of the workshop of Ilya Repin. In the same 1894, he took part in his first landmark exhibition, organized by the Society of Russian watercolourists.KissKonstantin Andreevich Somov1914There was Paris - wherever without Paris! Here in 1897−98 years Konstantin Somov studied at the Academy of Kolarossi, after which he returned to his native St. Petersburg, where he plunged into the vibrant artistic life of the capital. It was then that he was fascinated by the elegant sculpture plastic of porcelain, which he loved, understood and collected for many years. A few years later, several porcelain figurines were cast on his models at the Imperial Porcelain Factory, including the famous "Damu Mask" (1906). The exhibition promises to present the old, pre-revolutionary compositions according to the artist’s sketches.

In 1898, Somov took the first step in the illustration, taking part in the competition for the design of the cover of the magazine "World of Art". The artist works a lot and fruitfully, creating drawings for the books “Graf Nulin” by A. Pushkin (1899), the novels by N. Gogol “Nose” and “Nevsky Prospect” (1901), works on the design of the magazine “World of Art” and “Art Treasures of Russia ". In 1903, his first solo exhibition was held in St. Petersburg, at which Somov presented 162 works; later, most of this exposure was shown in Berlin and Hamburg.
Konstantin Somov in Paris. 1912

Konstantin Somov was known for both portrait work and paintings depicting genre scenes that resurrect the cherished world of court balls and masquerades of the “gallant” XVIII century.Harlequin Konstantin Andreevich Somov1912, 23 × 20 cm in love. One of the most famous works of Somov became erotic illustrations for the courtly collection “The Book of Awnings”. In this collection, the creation idea of ​​which belongs to the Austrian essayist and critic Franz Bleu, collected an anthology of French erotic literature of the 18th century: Voltaire, Casanova, Chenier, Guys - only about fifty authors. Illustrations for the "Book of the Marquises" Blej ordered Konstantin Somov. The book was first published in German by the publishing house Hans Von Veber in 1907, and later reprinted several times, in particular, in 1918 in St. Petersburg.
At the upcoming exhibition in the KGallery will be presented three versions of the "Book of Marquises" with illustrations by Konstantin Somov.Book marquises. Illustration Konstantin Andreevich Somov1918The famous bibliophile and art critic Erich Gollerbach wrote about the “Book of the Marquise”: “Here, as in a certain trick, focused and refined retrospectiveness and fashionable eroticism of the aesthetic worldview, reflected the dreamy cult of the XVIII century, with its charming insanity, with its charming insanity, with its charming insanity of the 18th century, with its charming insanity, with a charming insanity of the 18th century, with its charming insanity. . In the sense of artistic ideology in this book there is no progress, no quest, but it is undoubtedly remarkable in itself, “as a thing.” All imbued with the spirit of the “small things beautiful and airy, the love of the nights, then the involuntary, now the stifling,” it is strictly sustained in one graphic style, in a single graphic harmony. In the graphic art of Somov, this book is the highest achievement. In the history of Russian illustrated editions, it can rightfully occupy one of the first places. ”Book marquises. Illustration №8 Konstantin Andreevich Somov1918, 24 × 18.5 cmBook marquises. Illustration Konstantin Andreevich Somov1918 Konstantin Somov did not accept the 1917 revolution, although in 1918 he became a professor at the Petrograd State Free Art Training Workshop, and a year later he held a large exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery on the occasion of his 50th birthday. In 1923 he traveled to America as an authorized "Russian Exhibition", which he successfully conducted in 1924. Konstantin Somov has not returned to Russia. In January 1928, he acquired an apartment in Paris on the Boulevard Exelmans. The artist works a lot and fruitfully - he paints portraits, landscapes, in 1927 he tries himself in miniature and creates a series of watercolor works, participates in exhibitions abroad. Paris will become the home of Konstantin Somov until his death in 1939.

In 2006 and 2007, the works of Konstantin Somov set records at the auction of Christie's Russian art in London: the Russian Pastoral painting (1922, illustration on the left) was sold for a record amount of 2.4 million pounds sterling. A year later, another work of Somov, Rainbow, went under the hammer for 3,716,000 pounds, with a starting price of 400,000 pounds.

The exhibition “Konstantin Somov” in the KGallery will open on March 24 and will run until May 14, 2017. An illustrated catalog with a number of scientific articles by leading experts in the field of Russian art from the beginning of the twentieth century will be published in the exhibition. The exhibition curator is Kristina Berezovskaya.
According to the KGallery's press release, including the illustrations provided (“Landscape with a Rainbow,“ Kiss ”(illustration for“ The Book of the Marquise ”),“ Harlequin In Love ”, artist's photo). Title illustration: Konstantin Somov, "Harlequin in Love", 1912 (fragment)