Falk Robert Rafailovich
1886–1958

FALK Robert Rafailovich

October 27, 1886 (Moscow) — October 1, 1958 (Moscow)

Painter, graphic artist, scene-designer

Robert Falk was born to a family of lawyer, who came from the Baltic States. He finished secondary school in 1902. In 1903–1905 Falk studied painting and drawing at the K. F. Yuon and I. O. Dudin School of Painting and Drawing. Later he studied at the studio of I. I. Mashkov. In 1905–1909 Falk continued his education at Moscow School of painting, sculpture and architecture (MUZhVZ), studied under the guidance of A. E. Arkhipov, A. M. Vasnetsov, L. O. Pasternak; in the studio of V. A. Serov and K. A. Korovin. From 1905 till 1910 Falk participated in the exhibitions (for the first time under the pseudonym Klaf Trebor) of the MUZhVZ, Moscow Association of Artists, and exhibition of the salon Zolotoye Runo (“Golden Fleece”). In 1909–1910 Falk taught drawing at the primary schools.

In Moscow School of painting, sculpture and architecture (MUZhVZ) Falk met I. I. Mashkov, A. V. Lentulov, A. V. Kuprin, and P. P. Konchalovsky; later they became a backbone of the group Bubnovy Valet (“Jack of Diamonds”). In 1910 Falk was one of the founders of the group Bubnovy Valet. Till 1916 he always participated in the exhibitions of this group. At the same time he took part in the exhibitions of the group Mir Iskusstva (“World of Art”, 1911–1917, 1921, 1922). In 1911 he made a trip to Italy.

After the October revolution, Falk worked at the Department of Fine Arts of the National commissariat of education (Narkompros) in 1918–1921. From 1918 till 1928 he lectured at the State Free Art Studios under the Higher State Artistic and Technical Workshops (VKhUTEMAS) — the Higher Art Technical Institute (VKhUTEIN). Since 1926 Falk was a dean of the faculty of painting at the VKhUTEIN. Since 1921 he was a member of Moscow department of the Kultur-Liga (“Culture League”).

Falk participated in many group exhibitions in the Soviet Union and abroad, in particular the First Russian Art exhibition in the Van Diemen gallery in Berlin (1922); the 14th and the 16th international exhibitions in Venice (1924, 1928); exhibitions of decorative art in Paris (1925); exhibition of the Soviet art in Dresden (1926), in Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen (travelling exhibition, 1927), Tokyo (1927), Paris (1928), New York, Boston, Detroit (travelling exhibition, 1929), Vienna, Berlin, Stockholm (1930). Falk also took part in the exhibitions of the Society of Moscow artists (1925–1928) and the Association of the artists of Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR, 1926–1928).

Since 1925 Falk worked as a scene-designer. He designed the performance A Night in the Old Marketplace after the play by I. Peretz in the Jewish Chamber theatre in Moscow. Later he collaborated with the Theatre named after the Mossovet (Moscow municipal council), Moscow State Jewish Theatre (Goset), the State Chamber Theatre, the Theatre of Satire.

In 1928 Falk was sent into a mission by the National commissariat of education (Narkompros); he lived in Paris. He made a trip to Corsica, Brittany, Provence. He exposed his works at the Salon of Independents, the Salon Tuillerie, and the Autumn Salon. His personal exhibitions were held in the Paris galleries Zak (1929), Van Leer (1937).

In 1937 Falk returned to the Soviet Union, lived in Moscow. In 1938 he made trips to the Crimea and Central Asia in order to gather material for creative work. His personal exhibitions were held in the Central house of litterateurs and in the House of art workers in Moscow (1939).

In 1941–1943 Falk was in evacuation in Bashkiria and Central Asia. There he drew a cycle of watercolors and drawings. In 1942–1943 he lectured at the Central College of Art and Practical trainings and at Samarkand Art College. In 1943 the exhibition of the Central Asia’s works of Falk was organized in Samarkand.

In 1944 Falk returned to Moscow. He made trips to the Crimea (1950), to Moldavia (1951–1952), the Baltic States (1953). In 1940s–1950s he was often accused of formalism.

Retrospective exhibitions of Falk’s artworks were held in Moscow (1958, 1966, 1979), Erevan (1965), Novosibirsk and Tallinn (both — 1967).

Robert Falk was one of the leading artists of the first half of the 20th century, a significant colorist. In early works he was under the influence of impressionism. Since mid 1900s he was interested in postimpressionism, in particular the art of P. Sezanne. In 1910s works of Falk were close to fauvism and cubism. In 1920s Falk studied the technique of the Old Masters. Early works of Falk were characterized by contrasting and poignant colors; later there were faint outlines, complex color gamma with dull brown, violet, red and green nuances in his works. His expressive manner of 1900s–1910s gave place to the inner tenseness, nervous strokes, and the unsteady postures.

Works by Robert Falk are in many museum collections, including the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and others.

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