Aleksandr Gerasimov

1881-1963

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Status, price and estimation of the artist Aleksandr Gerasimov

Price of a painting: 8,800 – 278,300 €.

Estimation of a drawing: 655 – 98,400 €.

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The career of Aleksandr Gerasimov

Soviet painter born in 1881 in Kozlov, Russia, Gerasimov studied art at the Moscow College of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. During the First World War, he served in an ambulance car from 1917 onwards. Later, he decided to return to his hometown to work mainly on theatre sets. He then returned to the Russian capital in 1925 and joined the Association of Painters of Revolutionary Russia. This group was inspired at the time by “The Wanderers” or “itinerant” painters, which was a Russian realist movement that lasted from 1863 until the beginning of the 20th century, built as a reaction to the teachings of the St Petersburg academy.

Socialist realism

Later, Gerasimov approved of and applied Socialist Realism in his painting, transcribing the most important events of the revolution (German occupation of Ukraine in 1918, 1928) and portraying the most important figures of this revolt. At an exhibition devoted to the artist in 2016, curator Alexei Shishkin wrote of him, “Gerasimov’s paintings were not intended for sale, but to be printed in people’s heads, in a way playing the same role as television today. They had an iconic function”.

Closeness to communist political figures

His most famous work, Lenin at the rostrum, painted in 1930, perfectly illustrates the style of socialist realism: a very marked romantic pathos, a symbolism at once revolutionary, realistic and naive. It was the portraits he painted during the Stalinist period, including Stalin and Voroshilov in the Kremlin, 1938, that won him the Stalin Prize. Still greatly influenced by the latter, Gerasimov also decorated many architectural works of the Stalinist period. In this respect, he created the walls and ceilings of the foyer of the Red Army Theatre in Moscow in 1940.

In fact, the painter was an official government artist as well as a member of the Communist Party who received the Stalin Prize four times, in addition to receiving the decoration of the Order of Lenin and being appointed chairman of the Organising Committee of the Union of Soviet Painters from 1934 to 1954 and president of the USSR Academy of Fine Arts from 1947 to 1957. He was one of the founders of socialist realism and contributed to this movement until his death in 1963.

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