Later brought back by his parents to Petersburg, where he grew up. Wanted to become a painter. Became famous for his portraits and stage and cinema designs.
One of the prominent avant-garde artists in the 1920s (illustrator of Blok’s The Twelve), designer of early revolutionary jubilee demonstrations (storming of the Winter Palace) and official appearances of revolutionary leaders (Lenin, Trotsky). Professor of Academy of Art, 1920. Commissioned by the first Soviet government to draw portraits of revolutionary leaders, including Lenin.
Especially patronized by L. Trotsky. Sent as a designer to Soviet exhibitions in Western Europe and stayed in France in 1924. Celebrated member of the Russian art elite in exile in Paris, 1920-1960s, designer in French and American film productions (over 60 films).
His memoirs, Dnevniki Moikh Vstrech, 2 vol. encyclopaedia of the 1920-1930s, give very interesting descriptions of many artists, writers and politicians (Akhmatova, L. Pasternak, Mayakovsky and others).
Born July 23, 1889