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Mikhail Larionov Biography

1881 – 1964

Russian avant-garde painter who pioneered abstract Russian Art.

In 1898 he entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture under Isaac Levitan and Valentin Serov.

From 1902 he followed Impressionism, then Post-Impressionism and Neo-primitive style. In 1908 he staged the Golden Fleece exhibition in Moscow, which included paintings by international avant-garde artists such as Matisse, Derain, Braque, Gauguin and Van Gogh. Other group shows promoted by him included Tatlin, Chagall and Malevich. In 1911, his first solo show was for one day in Moscow.

Larionov was a founding member of two important Russian artistic groups ‘Jack of Diamonds’ (1909–1911) and the more radical ‘Donkey’s Tail’ (1912–1913).

In 1913 he and Natalia Goncharova (his livelong partner) invented Rayonism which was the first creation of near-abstract art in Russia. He had a one-man show at the Omega Workshops.

In 1915 he left Russia and worked with the ballet owner Sergei Diaghilev in Paris on the productions of the Ballets Russes. He spent the rest of his life in Paris obtaining a French citizenship.

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