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Annenkov Yury Pavlovich
Painter, theatre and film art worker, litterateur Yury Annenkov was born to a family of P. S. Annenkov, who was a member of the organization Narodnaya Volya (“People’s Freedom”) and was exiled for the case of the murder of Alexander II. In 1892 his family returned from the exile to St. Petersburg. Annenkov began to draw since early childhood. In 1906 he was expelled from the 12th St. Petersburg state gymnasium for the political caricatures. Then Annenkov attended the Stolbtsov private gymnasium. In 1908 he entered the faculty of law at St. Petersburg University. At the same time he studied drawing at the studio of S. M. Seidenberg. In the summer 1909 Annenkov lived in Borovichi; there he drew the series of sketches in impressionistic style. In the same year he tried to enter the Academy of Arts, but unsuccessfully. Till 1911 Annenkov studied at the School of Technical Drawing of Baron Alexander Stieglitz and at the School of Y. F. Tsionglinsky, who advised the young artist to continue painting lessons in Paris. In 1911 Annenkov moved to Paris, studied under the guidance of F. Vallotto and M. Denis, and attended the Academy Grand Chaumiere and La Palette. In the summer 1912 he drew sketches of marine flora and fauna in Brittany. In 1913 Annenkov exposed his first cubism landscapes at the exhibition of the Salon of Independents. In the same year, he returned to St. Petersburg, collaborated with magazines Satirikon, Teatr i iskusstvo” (“Theatre and Art”), Lukomorye (“Curved Seashore”) and others. He published his caricatures and drawings in these magazines. Later Annenkov was engaged in theatre activities. He designed the performances at the N. N. Evreinov’s Theatre Krivoye Zerkalo (“Distorting Mirror”). Annenkov promoted the expressionism style in Russian scene. In 1915–1916 he created illustrations to the Evreinov’s booklet Theatre for you. Annenkov also worked with the other theatres of St. Petersburg and Moscow. In 1916–1917 Annenkov created scene designs to the performances of the Literary and Artistic cabaret theatre Comedians’ Halt (“Prival Komediantov”), later — to the revolutionary mass performances The Hymn to the Free Labor and The Capture of the Winter Palace near the Stock Exchange in St. Petersburg. In 1916 Annenkov began to work on the series of portraits of contemporaries, figures of Russian culture A. A. Akhmatova, E. I. Zamyatin, A. N. Benois and many others. This series became famous as a series of aesthete portraits. In 1918 Annenkov drew illustrations to the poem The Twelve by A. A. Blok. Alexander Blok said that Annenkov’s drawings had been as “a parallel graphical text”. In 1919 Annenkov published the article Rhythmic scenery. In 1920 he was appointed the professor of the Academy of Arts. In the period of the Revolution Annenkov joined the board of Petrograd House of Arts. In 1921 he together with other artists founded the Society of Easel Artists (OST). In the same year Annenkov published his article Theatre till the end in the magazine Dom iskusstv (“The House of Arts”), which became the manifest of abstract theatre. Annenkov designed the performances Gas by H. Kaiser (1922) and The rebellion of the machines by A. N. Tolstoy (1924) at the Bolshoi Drama Theatre. Annenkov was a head of the Art department at the Theatre of political satire Volnaya komedia (“Free comedy”). At the same time he published his theoretical articles and essays in the magazine Zhizn iskusstva (“The Life of Art”) and his drawings in the publishing houses Raduga (“Rainbow”), Vsemirnaya Literatura (“World Literature”), Krasnaya nov (“Red Novelty”); in satirical magazines Mukhomor (“Amanita”, 1922) and Drezina (“Trolley”, 1923–1924). Annenkov illustrated the literary works of J. London, K. I. Chukovsky and N. N. Evreinov.  Annenkov was engaged also in the belles-lettres: he published the book of poems A quarter past eight (Petrograd, 1919). Later he published his books The story of trifles and The ragged epic under the pen name of B. Temiryazev (Berlin, 1934). In late 1910s — early 1920s Annenkov drew portraits of A. F. Kerensky, V. I. Lenin, G. E. Zinoviev, L. B. Kamenev, K. Radek and many others from life. These drawings were included into the albums Portraits (1922) and 17 portraits (1926).Almost all drawings from the second album were deleted for censor reasons. It is considered that it was Annenkov who used the method of the heroic idealization for the first time in the portrait of L. D. Trotsky (1923). Later it was the main distinguishing feature of the portraits of the Soviet leaders. In 1924 Annenkov visited Venice, attended the Soviet pavilion at the International exhibition. In 1925 he lived in Paris, painted a lot. In this period he painted portraits of I. E. Babel, I. G. Erenburg, J. Cocteau, M. Ravel, and O. A. Spesivtsev.                                                    Since 1931 Annenkov worked as a scene-designer and collaborated with G. Balanchin, N. F. Baliev, F. F. Komissarzhevsky, S. M. Lifar, L. F. Myasin, B. F. Nizhinskaya, and M.  A. Chekhov. In 1941–1957 Annenkov staged and designed some performances of Russian classical literature in Paris theatres Pleyel and Vieux-Colombier. In German-occupied Paris Annenkov staged the operas Queen of Spades (1941), Eugene Onegin (1943) by P. P. Tchaikovsky and Marriage by M. P. Mussorgsky. In 1961 he worked as a scene-designer in the theatre of Monte Carlo. Altogether Annenkov designed for the French theatres more than 60 performances: plays, operas and ballets. Annenkov created scene and costume designs to more than 60 films, including cinematographic works of F. A. Otsep, Christian Jaque, M. Ophuls and R. Siodmak. In 1953 Annenkov was awarded Oscar for the film Madam de … by M. Ophuls. In 1957 he designed the film about A. Modigliani Montparnasse, 19 by J. Becker. In 1945 Annenkov was elected president of the trade union of engineering workers of the cinematograph of France (till 1955). Annenkov also worked as a production designer on television of France and West Germany. In the end of his life Annenkov painted very little; his works almost were not exposed at the exhibitions. Annenkov wrote and published a lot of articles–studies of theatre and cinema. His monographs Dressing stars and Max Ophuls were published in Paris in 1955 and in 1962. Autobiographic essays of Yury Annenkov about Russian and Soviet culture Diary of my meetings. The cycle of tragedies were published in 1966 in New York.
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