Konstantin Andreevic Somov


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Status, price and estimation of the artist Konstantin Andreevic Somov

Price of a painting: 4,800 – 700,200 €.

Estimated value of a drawing: 730 – 263,000 €.

Estimation of a print: 150 – 1,500 €.

Price of a sculpture: 3,000 – 8,500 €.

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The training of Konstantin Andreevic Somov

Konstantin Andreevic Somov is a Russian Symbolist painter born in 1869 from a conservative father and art historian, working at the Hermitage Museum. He developed a taste for the art of the 18th century, especially music, at a young age.

He studied painting between 1888 and 1897 at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts and for his practical apprenticeship he attended classes in Ilia Répine’s studio alongside other renowned future painters such as Igor Grabar, Philippe Maliavine and Anna Ostrumova-Lebedeva. Like Fragonard and Watteau, he draws his inspiration from rococo art and uses gouache painting whenever possible.

The Parisian adventure and Mir Iskusstva

During his studies, he met his future friends Serge Diaghilev, Alexandre Benois and Léon Bakst with whom he went to the French capital in 1897. It was an opportunity for Somov to visit the workshops of the Colarossi Academy as well as those of the Whistler Academy. When the group of students decided to return to Russia, they decided to create the magazine Mir Iskusstva in 1889, which Somov took on the task of illustrating. The aim of this magazine was to synthesise several art forms such as theatre, book art and decoration.

Recognition and integration of the Imperial Academy

In the 1910s, Somov began illustrating the work of the poet Alexander Blok, as well as creating some of the characters of the commedia dell’arte. At the 1906 Salon d’Automne, Somov had his paintings exhibited in France, but also in Germany, where the first monograph of his career was held the following year.

Thanks to Russia’s recognition of his work, he was made a member of the Imperial Academy in 1913. He also became a professor at the school in Petrograd, now St. Petersburg, in 1918.

He emigrated to the United States in 1923. However, as the atmosphere of this faraway land was diametrically opposed to his original environment, Somov declared that his artistic temperament was incompatible with this country and stayed there for only one year. Instead, he decided to settle in Paris. There again he illustrated the works of writers such as Manon Lescaut, Daphnis and Chloé or the poems of Pushkin. In his last years, Somov painted mainly portraits. When he died in 1939, he was buried in the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois cemetery.

Put aside for a while, the painter’s works met with renewed interest, which greatly influenced their value in the art market. Indeed, his 1927 landscape L’Arc-en-ciel 1927 was sold for $7.33 million.

Appraise and sell a painting by Constantin Somov

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