POLIAKOFF, Serge

(1900/1906-1969), Russia/France
  • Name: POLIAKOFF, Serge
  • Born: 1900/1906, 8/1, Moscow, Russia
  • Died: 1969, 12/10, Paris, France


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The Russian painter Serge Poliakoff, born in Moscow on 8 January 1900, is one of the most important members of the Ecole de Paris. He fled the Russian Revolution in 1917, first going to Constantinople and then to Paris in 1923, where he spent most years of his life. He began studying painting while earning a living as a musician. He enrolled at the Académie Forchot and Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris 1929 and went to London in 1935 where he studied at the Slade School of Art. At first he produced variations of academic traditions and predominantly figurative motifs such as nudes, houses, trees etc. After 1935 Poliakoff increasingly turned towards abstract art, employing colour as colour without any figurative context. A decisive influence in this direction was Kandinsky, whom he met after his return to Paris. Sonia and Robert Delaunay taught him to appreciate the emotive quality of colour and awakened an interest in simultaneous contrasts. Another important source of Poliakoff's pictorial language was the sculptor Otto Freundlich with his curved colour-form compositions. Poliakoff developed a very individual form of abstract painting, arranging different coloured fields of colour next to one another. Shades of brown and grey were his preferred colours during the 1940s, while after the 1950s he extended his palette including bright contrasting tones. In his late work Poliakoff abandoned the polychrome palette and returned to earth tones and more monochrome works. Poliakoff's paintings were shown at international exhibitions during the 1950s and 1960s, after his nationalisation in France in 1962 the artist received his own room at the Biennale in Venice. Over the later years a number of lithographs, to which Poliakoff attended since 1962, as well as small format paintings were created, when the artist had to take care of himself after a heart attack in 1965. Serge Poliakoff died in Paris on 12 October 1969.

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Serge Poliakoff was born in Moscow in 1906, the thirteenth of fourteen children. His father, a Kyrgyz, supplied the army with horses that he bred himself and also owned a racing stable. His mother was heavily involved with the church, and its religious icons fascinated him. He enrolled at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, but fled Russia and the Russian Revolution in 1917. He arrived in Constantinople in 1920, living off the profits from his talent as a guitarist.
He went on to pass through Sofia, Belgrade, Vienna, and Berlin before settling in Paris in 1923, all the while continuing to play in Russian cabarets. In 1929 he enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. His paintings remained purely academic until he discovered, during his stay in London from 1935 to 1937, the abstract art and luminous colours of the Egyptian sarcophagi. It was a little afterwards that he met Wassily Kandinsky, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, and Otto Freundlich.
With these influences, Poliakoff quickly came to be considered as one of the most powerful painters of his generation. In 1947, he was trained by Jean Deyrolle in Gordes in the Vaucluse region of France amongst peers such as Gérard Schneider, Giloli, Victor Vasarely, and Jean Dewasne. By the beginning of the 1950s, he was still staying at the Old Dovecote hotel near Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which was also home to Louis Nallard and Maria Manton, and continuing to earn a reliable income by playing the balalaika. A contract enabled him to quickly gain better financial stability.
In 1962 a room was given over to his paintings by the Venice Biennial, and Poliakoff became a French citizen in the same year. His works are now displayed in a large number of museums in Europe and New York. Poliakoff also worked with ceramics at the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres. He influenced the paintings of Arman.
Serge Poliakoff tillhör de absolut främsta företrädarna för det abstrakta måleriets utveckling under perioden efter det andra världskriget. Född i Moskva år 1900 flydde Poliakoff Ryssland i samband med den ryska revolutionen 1917 varefter han så småningom hamnade i Paris 1923. Studier vid såväl Académie Forchot som Académie de la Grande Chaumière 1929 följdes av ytterligare fortbildning vid Slade School of Fine Art i London, 1935.
Efter återkomsten till Paris stiftade han bekantskap med Kandinsky och makarna Delaunay. Poliakoffs måleri ansluter därefter till det nya abstrakta måleriet i verk med betonad ytmässighet, vilken kunde präglas av geometrisk-linjära formförhållanden, men även ofta enbart koncentrerades på samspel samt motsättningar mellan färgmassor.
Poliakoff kom snart att betraktas som en av de viktigaste företrädarna för den s.k. Ecole de Paris. Åren 1938-45 ställde han regelbundet ut på Salon des Indépendants, därefter hörde han till Salon des Réalités Nouvelles mest uppmärksammade utställare. Poliakoffs ställning som ett av de främsta namnen inom det abstrakta måleriets avantgarde förstärktes under efterkrigstiden. Sina tidigare positioner lämnade han till fördel för en egenartad utveckling som sökte det fundamentala i färgen genom konstruktioner av måleriskt gestaltade, överlappande färgytor.
Åren närmast efter kriget gjorde Poliakoff sin palett påfallande mörkare och målade i dämpade, diffusa ockra- och jordfärger i en medveten önskan att motverka en alltför dekorativ samt brokig verkan av sina abstrakta strukturer. Dessa, eventuellt med insprängda enstaka mer färglysande element, kännetecknade hans måleri till mitten av 1960-talet.
I början av 1950-talet, då Malevitjs arbeten givit honom en stark impuls, utvecklades hans måleri i ett fast och näst intill kanoniskt formförråd vars relativt ensartade karaktär ytterligare underströk själva färgytan samt färgpigmentets sinnliga verkan. Poliakoff drevs av en önskan att lägga tonvikten vid det materiella mer än vid den gestaltande formen. De tidigare skarpa och spetsiga formerna och spelet med kontraster avlöstes av hans karakteristiska block eller stora former som liksom mjukt tonade texturer med spröda avgränsningar hakar sig fast vid varandra i harmoniska och stilfärdiga kompositioner.
Source: Bukowskis,Sweden
Title Medium Date Size (cm) Price
Composition abs...
Oil on canvas201622x27€ 108,412Picture
Composition gri...
Lithograph201448x62€ 3,000Picture
Composition Rou...
Etching and aquatint201462x50€ 5,445Picture
COMPOSITION
Gouache201425x17€ 28,120Picture
Sans titre
Oil on canvas2013116x89€ 481,500Picture
Composition abs...
Oil on canvas2013100x81€ 113,900Picture
Composition jau...
Lithograph201239x55€ 2,968Picture
COMPOSITION (JA...
Oil on canvas2012116x89€ 767,826Picture
Composition Rou...
Etching201125x18€ 3,955Picture
Rouge
Oil on canvas2011116x89€ 517,000Picture
Composition rou...
Lithograph201125x19€ 2,027Picture
Composition Gri...
Lithograph201150x69€ 5,454Picture
Composition Gri...
Lithograph201148x63€ 2,618Picture
Komposition
Lithograph201033x49€ 963Picture
Composition tac...
Oil on canvas201073x92€ 434,440Picture
Composition ble...
Lithograph201087x63€ 302Picture
Composition Noi...
Etching and aquatint201062x47€ 6,272Picture
Composition abs...
Gouache200949x64€ 0Picture
Composition abs...
Gouache200945x60€ 32,406Picture
Composition Ble...
Lithograph200949x65€ 0Picture
Composition Ble...
Lithograph200951x65€ 1,115Picture
Composition Abs...
Gouache200945x60€ 35,514Picture
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1953
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1954
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1955
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1950's
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1957
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1958
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1958
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1959
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1960-1961
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1964
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1964
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1966
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1966
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge 1966
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge Registered in the Archives Serge Poliakoff in Paris (Archive-Nr. 966’013)
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge
Signature by: POLIAKOFF, Serge