1880-1906 “The early years” PDF Print E-mail

In 1880 Petr Konchalovsky enters Kharkov private school of Raevskaia and studies drawing there. At the same time he gets acquainted with artist Levchenko, visits his studio and tries to work with paints.

After arrival to Moscow in 1889 he continues studying painting and drawing in the evening classes at V.D.Suhov in Central Stroganov School of Technical Drawing. He writes a number of portraits, including a portrait of his sister – Victoria Petrovna Konchalovskaia. His father shows the portrait to Surikov who marks the “Spanish color” of the young artist.

Owing to publishing business of his father, the young man gets acquainted with artists V.I.Surikov, V.A.Serov, M.A.Vrubel, K.A.Korovin and others. He often visits studios of V.A.Serov and K.A.Korovin. The painting of the last especially strongly influences young Konchalovsky. The young man often visits museums as well. The great impression is made on him by the Tretiakov Gallery.

He tries to illustrate Pushkin’s «The miserly knight» on his own.

At that time the young man often visits museums. The great impression is made on him by the Tretiakov Gallery.

In 1895, the French Art-Industrial Exhibition is opened in Moscow. There, for the first time the artist sees the works of impressionists. The strong impression is made on him by Monet’s “Stacks”.

Konchalovsky tries his forces in sculpturing. In 1896 on Vrubel’s models, he has molded of clay a group “Robert and Bertram”. It was made in wide plans for a ladder in Morozov’s private residence in Spiridonovka (the composition was finished by Vrubel for casting of bronze).

In 1896, according K.A.Korovin’s advice young artist goes to Paris to study painting. He enters Julien’s Academy – a private art studio where teachers, J.P. Lorance and J.J. Bendjamin Constant, were representatives of so-called Toulouse school. A drawing of the young artist is awarded and hung as the sample on a wall of studio. In Paris he writes an etude on a mythological plot “Odysseys and Calypsos”, noted by teachers, but not satisfactory for the author. He also writes “The Feminine portrait”.(1898).

The artist understands the necessity of painting from life and studying of the nature and goes to Brittany, where writes a series (about hundred) etudes on post-card size wooden plates.

In 1898 he comes back to Russia, goes to visit his friends in the Tver province in the autumn and works in Venitsianov’s studio – writes etudes of Russian autumn.

Konchalovsky enters the Higher Art School at the Academy of Arts in Petersburg where studies at V.E.Savinsky, V.I.Tvorozhnikov and G.R.Zaleman, after a while passes into P.O.Kovalevsky’s studio of battle-piece painting.

Meanwhile P.P. Konchalovsky senior begins the edition of the collected works of A.S.Pushkin and has involved in that task many artists who before it had participated also in work of the edition of Lermontov’s compositions. Konchalovsky junior takes part in the edition of 1899 (“A.S.Pushkin’s Compositions” – P.Konchalovsky’s anniversary edition in 3 volumes – Moscow: Company “Printing House of A.I.Mamontov”, 1899).

1901-1902 – Konchalovsky often goes to make etudes in Rozhdestvenno near Petersburg.

Studying in Academy, the artist is engaged in making the scenerys for students’ and amateurs’ theatricals. Receives the first premium for sketches of scenery of the academic ball where together with the scenery of a hall makes the scenery for an alive picture “Frina in Elevzise”. He also executes the scenery of the Parisian street for the play at Yavorskaia’s theatre and scenery for the “Snow Maiden” under V.M.Vasnetsov’s sketches for “country” theatre of V.S. Serova.

After a marriage to Olga Vasilievna Surikova (February, 1902), he goes together with Surikovs’ family to Siberia, to Krasnoyarsk where writes etudes. A series of etudes is noted by teachers and exposed at the academic exhibition, but his own works do not satisfy the artist, and he personally destroys much of the studies written during this period.

Siberia. Taiga. 1902

Siberia. Taiga. 1902

In 1904 artist goes to Italy where writes the first etude in the impressionism manner (“A Small Garden near Rome – Peaches in Color”), but after returning to Petersburg he continues working in the academic tradition.

The work on the portrait of his wife which he has begun in Rome is continued.

Garden near Rome. Peaches in Bloom. 1904

Garden near Rome. Peaches in Bloom. 1904

He writes a series of academic works of liberal choice of themes. His “Lads going to a conversation party” has wined a premium, and “Shrovetide Feast” has pleased Kovalevsky so that he tried to persuade young artist to write his competition work on this theme.

Konchalovsky passes lots of time in botanical gardens making sketches of animals.

In 1905 he takes a trip to the North to Kandalaksha, and there, right on the shore, he writes his competition picture – “Fishermen pulling Networks” (in 1935 the author had washed the picture away). After his return to Petersburg young artist exhibits the picture and the etudes in private, but decides to avoid the competition this year (in 1907 he achieved the rank of artist for this picture). He goes to Plies on Volga and tries to write another competition picture – “Tea Party in a Summer House” (later he destroyed the picture).

This summer he also writes a curtain and makes row drafts for the scenery for Misset’s opera “Mughette”, and Bruno’s “Hurricane” for S.I. Zimin’s Theatre of Opera. Although the sceneries have been made in wide pictorial manner quite new for the time, the experts decorators are pleased. They invite Konchalovsky to join their partnership on making theatrical sceneries for provincial theatres.