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Konstantin Andreevich Somov

painter , sculptor

Konstantin Andreyevich Somov was a Russian artist associated with the Mir iskusstva.

Background

Somov, Konstantin was born on November 30, 1869 in St. Petersburg. Son of Andrei Somov, editor of Vestnik Iziashchnykh Iskusstv.

Education

Studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, 1888-1897, in 1894, under Repin, also studied at the Paris Academy, 1897.

Career

Born into a family of a major art historian and Hermitage Museum curator Andrey Ivanovich Somov, he became interested in the 18th-century art and music at an early age. While at the Academy, he befriended Alexandre Benois, who would introduce him to Sergei Diaghilev and Léon Bakst. When the three founded the World of Art, Somov liberally contributed to its periodicals.

Somov was homosexual, like many of the World of Art members. Inspired by Watteau and Fragonard, he preferred to work with watercolours and gouache. For three years he worked upon his masterpiece, Lady in Blue, painted in the manner of 18th-century portraitists.

During the 1910s, Somov executed a number of rococo harlequin scenes and illustrations to the poems by Alexander Blok. Following the Russian Revolution, he emigrated to the United States, but found the country "absolutely alien to his art" and moved to Paris. He was buried at the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Cemetery.

On June 14, 2007, Somov's landscape "The Rainbow" (1927) was sold at Christie's for US$7.33 million, a record for a work at an auction of Russian art.