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Larionov, Mikhail (1881-1964)
by Scholes, Robert


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Mikhail Larionov (1881 - 1964)

He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1898-1908, under Levitan and Serov. In 1900 he met Natalia Goncharova, his life-long companion and wife. From 1906 he participated in exhibitions including the Salon d'Automne, World of Art, and the Union of Russian Artists. In 1907 his “primitive” period began, and he founded Neo-Primitivism. Organized the Wreath–Stephanos exhibition with Burliuk in Moscow (1907), and participated in exhibitions including The Link in Kiev, and The Golden Fleece (1908). His works were exhibited in Izdebsky's Salons in Odessa, Kiev, Riga and St Petersburg (1909-1910). Larionov was the founder of the "Jack of Diamonds" group, and with them he exhibited a remarkable series of paintings created during his military service. Larionov soon deserted the "Jack of Diamonds" for the more radical "Donkey's Tail", which held an exhibition in 1912. In 1912 he and Goncharova initiated two very important movements: Rayonism (Rayism) and Neo-primitivism. Rayonism was inspired by Italian Futurism and Neo-primitivism and represented a development of the artist's Fauvist and Expressionist interests. They moved to Paris in 1912. There he worked with Diagilev and the Russian Ballet. In 1921 R. A. Stephens named these two artists as “the most important figures in in Russian modern art”(NA 29.10:116).

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