Korovin, Konstantin (Russian) -" Monatre at Dusk" Oil on canvas
Artist: Konstantin Alekseyevich Korovin (Russian: 1861 – 1939) attributed to
Work and size: Monatre at Dusk, oil on canvas, 16 x 12 in (40.6 x 30.5 cm), signed lower right, framed dimensions: 21 1/2 x 17 1/2 in (54.6 x 44.4 cm)
Artist bio: Konstantin Alekseyevich Korovin (Russian: 1861 – 1939) was a leading Russian Impressionist painter. Polenov introduced Korovin to Savva Mamontov’s Abramtsevo Circle: Viktor Vasnetsov, Apollinary Vasnetsov, Ilya Repin, Mark Antokolsky and others. The group’s love for stylized Russian themes is reflected in Korovin’s picture A Northern Idyll. In 1885 Korovin worked for Mamontov’s opera house, designing the stage decor for Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, Léo Delibes’ Lakmé and Georges Bizet’s Carmen.
In 1900 Korovin designed the Central Asia section of the Russian Empire pavilion at the Paris World Fair and was awarded the Legion of Honour by the French government.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Korovin focused his attention on the theater. He moved from Mamontov’s opera to the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. Departing from traditional stage decor, which only indicated the place of action, Korovin produced a mood decor conveying the general emotions of the performance. Korovin designed sets for Konstantin Stanislavsky’s dramatic productions, as well as Mariinsky’s operas and ballets. He did the stage design for such Mariinsky productions as Faust (1899), The Little Humpbacked Horse (1901), and Sadko (1906) that became famous for their expressiveness.
In 1905 Korovin became an Academician of Painting and in 1909–1913 a professor at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.
One of the artist’s favourite themes was Paris. He painted A Paris Cafe (1890s), Cafe de la Paix (1905), La Place de la Bastille (1906), Paris at Night, Le Boulevard Italien (1908), Night Carnival (1901), Paris in the Evening (1907), and others.
During World War I Korovin worked as a camouflage consultant at the headquarters of one of the Russian armies and was often seen on the front lines. After the October Revolution Korovin continued to work in the theater, designing stages for Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre and Siegfried, as well as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (1918–1920).
In 1923 Korovin moved to Paris on the advice of Commissar of Education Anatoly Lunacharsky to cure his heart condition and help his handicapped son. There was supposed to be a large exhibition of Korovin’s works, but the works were stolen and Korovin was left penniless. For years, he produced the numerous Russian Winters and Paris Boulevards just to make ends meet.
In the last years of his life he produced stage designs for many of the major theatres of Europe, America, Asia and Australia, the most famous of which is his scenery for the Turin Opera House’s production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel.
Korovin died in Paris on 11 September 1939. He was buried in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery, in the southern suburbs of Paris.
Konstantin’s son Alexey Korovin (1897–1950) was a notable Russian-French painter. Because of an accident during his childhood he had both feet amputated. Alexey committed suicide in 1950.