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Волков, Александр Николаевич
Articles about the artist:
VOLKOV Alexander Nikolaevich
Painter, graphic artist, scene-designer
Volkov was born to a family of general of the military-medical service. In 1888 his family moved to Kerki on the Afghan border. Volkov studied at secondary school in Tashkent (1897–1900), then — at Orenburg cadet corps, and at the faculty of physics and mathematics at the St. Petersburg University (1907–1908). At the same time he attended private art school of watercolorist David Bortniker in St. Petersburg (1906–1908).
In 1908 Volkov entered the Higher Art Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he studied under Professor Vladimir Makovsky. In 1910–1912 he attended M. Bernstein studio, where his teachers were Ivan Bilibin, Leonid Shervud and Nikolai Rerikh. In 1912 Volkov moved to Kiev, where he studied at an art school under Fyodor Krichevsky and Vladimir Menk (1912–1916). Since 1914 he participated in exhibitions (for the first time exposed his works at the exhibition at Kiev’s art school).
Since 1916 Volkov lived in Tashkent. He worked on the festive decoration of the city for the revolutionary holidays. He created a number of works (oil and watercolor): Water and Stones, Women in the background of Mausoleums (1915–1916), Sketches of the legends(1917–1919), East primitive (1918–1920), Mountain villages of Fergana, Teahouses of the Old City and others. He also created a new technique of applying tempera.
In 1931–1934 Volkov made a trip to Shakhimardan in order to gather material for his creative work. In 1930s he was accused of formalism.
Volkov was a member of the group Masters of New East (1928–1930) and the Association of Fine Arts Workers (ARIZO, 1930). He also was an organizer of the Volkov Brigade. He participated in exhibitions of the Association of the Artists of Revolutionary Russia in Tashkent (AKhRR, 1928), the exhibition Poster at the service of the five-year plan in Moscow (1932), Soviet art exhibition in Philadelphia (1934). His personal exhibitions were held in Tashkent (1920, 1921, 1923, 1944, 1956–1957) and in Moscow (1923).
Since 1919 Volkov headed the Art Museum in Tashkent.
Volkov taught drawing at Tashkent Teachers’ Institute (1916–1919), Turkestan People's School of Painting and Sculpture (1919–1922), Faculty of Education at the University of Turkestan (1921–1922), the Higher Regional Art School, Turkestan Art College (1929–1941), Tashkent Art College, and at the Studios of the Central house of children education (1944–1947).
In 1943 Volkov was conferred the title of Honored Artist of the Uzbek SSR (Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic), in 1946 — the title of Peoples’ Painter of Uzbekistan. He was the author of series of poems Caravan and Teahouse (1922–1923) and Nomadic Days (1924–1927).
Volkov was buried at the Botkinskoe cemetery in Tashkent.
In 2007 retrospective exhibition of Volkov’s works was held in Moscow and was devoted to the 120th anniversary of the artist.
Volkov was one of the most significant artists of the Soviet Art of the first half of the 20th century. He developed his own recognizable style in painting and graphic art. In early works (1910s) Volkov was under the influence of M. A. Vrubel. Works of this period were characterized by decorative expressiveness of colors, with the predominance in the palette of pink, blue, and carmine. In 1920s Volkov was interested in cubism, abstractionism and primitive art. Works of this time were notable for plastic expressiveness (geometrization of forms, energetic rhythm with ornamental flatness, brightness, and color saturation, typical of Eastern art). In 1930s Volkov’s manner changed: from stylization, decorative and colorful color saturation, he turned to the restraint; from semi-abstract compositions — to the figurative art. Late artist's works were similar to the program of socialist realism.
Works by Alexander Volkov are in many museum and private collections, including the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, the State Museum of Oriental Art, Kiev Museum of Russian Art, the Central Museum of Art in Tashkent, the Savitsky State Museum of Arts in Nukus and others.
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