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Overview (2)

Born in Petropavlovsk, Akmolinsk Oblast, Russian Empire [now Petropavl, Kazakhstan]
Died in Paris, France  (natural causes)

Mini Bio (1)

Georges Annenkov was an Academy Award-nominated Russian-French artist, active in Russia, France, Germany, and Italy, also known as Yuri Annenkov in the 'Silver Age' of Russian art.

He was born Yuri Pavlovich Annenkov on July 18, 1889, in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Kamchatka province, Russian Empire (now Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia), where his father, Pavel Annenkov, was serving his sentence in Siberian exile for his anti-Tsar activities. The Annenkovs belonged to Russian cultural elite, and were in the opposition to the Tsar's rule. Annenkov's grand uncle, also named Pavel Annenkov, was among the leading intellectuals of his time, he was the publisher of Alexander Pushkin. In 1892, Annenkov's father was forgiven by the Tsar, and young Annenkov with his parents returned to their ancestral home in St. Petersburg. There he attended the private gymnasium of Stolbtsov, then studied at the Law School of St. Petersburg University, but did not graduate. In 1909, Annenkov applied to the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, but was not accepted, because his anti-Tsar caricatures were published in Russian liberal magazines.

In the 1900s, Annenkov met the famous Russian artist Ilya Repin, who was a neighbor of the Annenkovs in the St. Petersburg suburb of Kuokkala. Repin's art made a strong impression on young Annenkov, albeit he became interested in a more experimental and avant-garde movements. In 1909-1911, in St. Petersburg, he studied at the Stieglitz School of Art, and attended the drawing class of Saveli Seidenberg, where his classmate was Marc Chagall. In 1911 - 1913 Annenkov lived in Paris and studied painting with Symbolist artists Maurice Denis and Felix Vallotton. In the summer of 1912 he lived on the Atlantic coast of France, in Bretagne, there he made a series of drawings of fish and plants for the Department of Zoology at Sorbonne University. In 1913, Annenkov participated with his two paintings in the show at 'Salon des Independents', then he traveled and worked in France and Switzerland. Over the course of his artistic development, Annenkov absorbed a range of influences, from Russian Folk-style Lubok and Cubism of Pablo Picasso to Nabism, Expressionism, Futurism, Dada, and other Avant-garde movements, and created his own style called New Synthetism. Annenkov

In 1914, when the First World War broke, he was back in St. Petersburg, Russia. There Annenkov worked for art magazines, and took part in several art shows. He made stage design for several stage productions at the Theatre of Komissarzkhevskoy, and also worked with the director Nicolas Evreinoff and his Theatre Krivoe Zerkalo (aka.. The Curved Mirror) in St. Petersburg. By 1917 Annenkov joined the Mir Iskusstva group of artists, where he met such leaders of Russian art as Alexandre Benois, Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, and Yevgeni Lansere among others. During 1910s - 1920s, Annenkov was active as a book illustrator for such writers and poets as Alexander Blok, Maxim Gorky, Mikhail Kuzmin, and Yevgeni Zamyatin among others. In 1918 Annenkov created his well known illustrations for "The Twelve" by Aleksandr Blok. After the Communist Revolution of 1917, Annenkov followed his democratic and liberal instincts and became associated with non-Bolshevik leaders, such as Leon Trotsky, Maxim Gorky, and Anatoli Lunacharsky.

In 1918 - 1921, Annenkov made several large-scale, experimental and most avant-garde street decorations for mass shows and outdoor performances in St. Petersburg, Russia. On May 1, 1920, he staged an outdoor mystery show titled 'Liberated Labour Anthem' for the May Day Parade. That show started a tradition of grand-scale Soviet parades and street shows, for which Annenkov made the original designs, working with the group of such artists as Dobuzhinsky, Maslovsky, Kugel, and Shchuko. In the fall of 1920, Annenkov designed and directed a massive show 'Revolutionary Takeower of the Winter Palace' at the Palace Square in St. Petersburg. At that time, Annenkov invested his experimental ideas in such innovative stage productions as 'Gaz' by G.Keiser (1920) and 'The Mutiny of the Machines' by A. Tolstoy (1924) at Bolshoi Drama Theatre (BDT) in St. Petersburg. Annenkov's design for 'The Mutiny of the Machines' was involving several consecutive stage sets with large-scale moving mechanisms symbolizing the domination of industrial technology over human life.

Annenkov was among organizers of 'Segodnya' publishing house in St. Petersburg. In 1922, he published a book of his original portraits of eighty leading cultural and political figures of Russia of that time, such as Anna Akhmatova, Fedor Sologub, Yevgeni Zamyatin, Maxim Gorky, Boris Pasternak, and Leon Trotsky, V.I. Lenin, and Aleksandr Kerensky among many others. Annenkov's portraits show his mastery of blending several styles for better representation of complex, multi-faceted personalities of his famous sitters. In 1923 Annenkov collaborated with Korney Ivanovich Chukovskiy on the popular children books series, of which "Moidodyr" with illustrations by Yuri Annenkov had over 30 re-printings, and became one of the best known Russian books for children.

In the summer of 1924, Annenkov emigrated from the Soviet Union together with his wife, actress and ballerina Elena (Helen) Galperi. He took part in the 1924 Venice art show, then worked in Berlin, Germany, and exhibited his art in several shows across Europe. Eventually he settled in Paris, France. He also made set designs for about 60 stage productions of operas, ballets, and dramas, in collaboration with such directors as George Balanchine, Léonide Massine, Bronislava Njinska, Michael Chekhov and Serge Lifar. He also made numerous portraits of such cultural figures as Maurice Ravel and Jean Cocteau, among others. In the 1930s Annenkov became involved in film productions. He first collaborated with such film directors as F.W. Murnau and Viktor Tourjansky. Georges Annenkov is best known for his costumes for The Earrings of Madame De... (1953), for which he earned an Academy Award-nomination for Best Costume Design, shared with Rosine Delamare. Annenkov's costumes and set designers had won him much critical acclaim, especially his costumes for Gérard Philipe in Montparnasse 19 (1958) and La Chartreuse de Parme (1948), among other films. Among his works for television was his lavish design for 'The Cherry Orchard', a 1959 WD production of the eponymous play by Anton Chekhov.

From 1945 - 1955 Annenkov was president of the French Syndicate of Cinema Technicians. Annenkov's witty and bitter-sweet memoirs were published in Russian and French and had success among intellectuals in Europe. His book 'Journal of my meetings' (1966) was translated in several languages, albeit the book was banned in the Soviet Union, until the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Georges Annenkov died of natural causes, aged 83, on July 12, 1974, in Paris, France, and was laid to rest in the Russian Cemetery at Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, in Paris, France.

Georges (Yuri) Annenkov was married to Russian ballerina Elena (Helen) Annenkov (nee Galperi), who was also his Muse and inspirational model for numerous drawings, oil portraits, and design ideas for cinema. Annenkov's works are now in permanent collections of the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and in private collections and galleries across the world.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

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