Boris Kustodiev


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Status, estimation and price of the artist Boris Kustodiev

Price of a painting: 13,000 – 4,000,000 €.

Estimate of a drawing: 1,800 – 280,000 €.

Estimation of a print: 150 – 8,800 €.

If you would like to have a work by  Boris Kustodiev appraised, our experts will take care of everything.

Training and collaboration

Boris Kustodiev was a painter and decorator of Russian theatre scenes. He was born on 7 March 1878 in Astrakhan and died on 28 May 1927 in Leningrad.

From 1893 to 1896, Boris Kustodiev studied theology in a seminary, but took art classes with Pavel Vlassov. Following these courses, he became an assistant in Ilia Repine’s studio at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg from 1896 to 1903. Boris Kustodiev took the opportunity to take sculpture lessons with Dimitri Stelletsky.

He assisted Repine when the government asked him to paint a canvas representing the Protocol Session of the Council of State to mark its centenary on 7 May 1901. It is the young apprentice who creates the right side of the work.

The Imperial Academy of Arts offered him a scholarship, thanks to which Boris Kustodiev visited France and became René Menard’s assistant in his private studio in 1904. He then visited Spain, Italy, Austria and Germany until 1909. During this period of travel he painted many portraits and other works, yet he missed his native Russia.

Recognition and disability

From 1905 onwards, Boris Kustodiev became interested in book illustration. He designed the covers of great names in Russian literature such as Gogol, Lermontov and Tolstoy.

He was elected to the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in 1909 and continued to work intensively, but tuberculosis forced him to spend a year in Switzerland. In 1910, following the Russian Revolution of 1905, Boris Kustodiev joins the members of the Mir Iskusstva (art world), a group of innovative Russian artists with whom he exhibits his works.

Boris Kustodiev became a paraplegic in 1916 and wrote: “now my room is my whole world”. In spite of his physical suffering, his paintings remained full of colour and give the impression of a happy and painless life.

In 1918 he finished The Merchant’s Wife at Tea, which became his most famous painting.

Before the Russian Revolution of 1917, the painter returned to his love of illustration, working on works by Nekrassov and on Leskov’s fairy tales. Boris Kustodiev showed a great interest in theatre set design: he created the sets for Alexander Ostrovsky’s Burning Heart in 1911 and the sets and costumes for The Death of Pazukhin in 1913, performed at the Moscow Art Theatre.

He painted The Bolshevik, one of the first paintings depicting the Bolshevik revolution.

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