Pavel Nikolaevich Filonov: Biography

Born Moscow, Jan.8, 1883; died Leningrad, Dec.3,1941

At the early age of six, he was forced to go to work to help his poor family.

1897: moved to St.Petersburg

In 1896 he was orphaned and moved in with his married sister in St.Petersburg, where in 1897 he was sent to study painting.

1901-3: engaged in house painting, decorating, and restoration work

He engaged in a variety of jobs: from painting over roofs to washing sculptures on roofs and paintng over a roial minister's residence. He worked standing, sitting, lying down, having to face the risk of falling off the roof.

1903-8: at the privat studio of th eacademician Lev Dmitriev-Kavkazsky

In 1903 the young Filonov failed his entry examination at the Academy of Arts. Then he entered a privat art workshop headed by Lev Dmitriev-Kavkazsky, where he studied anatomy, painted and drew from life to make it to the Academy.

1908-10: attended thr St. Peterburg Academy of Arts

Having studied there for two years, he voluntarily left since had not accepted the prevailing rules of it and never followed them.

1910: close to the Union of Youth, contributing to three of its exhibitions

He was a member of the "Union of Youth" group and participated in their 1910, 1912 and 1913-14 exibitions in St. Petersburg, and the Donkey's Tail in Moscow.

1912: traveled to Italy and France

The travelling conditions were not new to him. He had to walk for 36 day to make it to Italy. While seeking employment, he walked from city to city and had to sleep under bushes. He didn't have a chance to see the Sixt's Chapel since he had no money.

with Iosif Skolnik designed decor for Mayakovsky's productiion of Vladimir Mayakovsky, a tragedy

1914-15: illustrated Futurist booklets and published a neologistic poem with his own illustrations; propounded the first ideas of his theory of analytical art and his system called Universal Flowering

Filonov wrote the first edition of The Ideology of Analytical Art and the Principle of Madeness. For the first time the slogans of madeness and the negation of all existing opinions emerged.

1916-18: military service

From 1916 to 1918 served on the Rumanian front. In 1917 he actively participated in the Bolshevik Revolution.

1919: at the Palace of the Arts there was the First State Free Exhibition of Works of Art, in which Filonov was presented with 22 pictures under the common title "Universal Flowering".

1923: professor at the Petrograd Academy of Arts and the associate of the Petrograd Institute of Artistic culture; wrote his second draft of his theory of analytical art

Pavel Filonov briefly headed the General Ideology Department at the Museum of Painterly Culture, which was established under Malevich's direction in 1923. He remained in the position only a few months, and differed with all of his colleagues on matters of artistic policy. Moreover, he is in almost all respects impossible to place within a specific group. But at that point Filonov started having students of his own, something which was not to change for the rest of his life. He continued his thinking process and presented all og his new ideas in the second edition of "Ideology of Analytical Art".

1925: established the Collective of Masters of Analytical Art (Filonov School); the groop held several exhibitions in the late 1920s and early 1930s

1929-30: one-man show planned at the Russian Museum, Leningrad; the exhibition catalog was printed in 1929 and issued in 1930, and although the preparations for the exhibition reached their final stage, ultimately it did not open

For a year and a half in closed doors the exposition in which all the artist's works (more than 300 paintings and drawings) were presented was the subject of bitter debates. However, eventually it was never opened.

1930s: continued to paint according to his theories

In 1932, on the fifteenth anniversary of the Bolshvik Revolution, 74 of Filonov's works were presented. This was to be the last exhibition in which he was to take part. The last years of his life his living conditions deteriorated as he did not sell his works deliberately. As a result, he died of hunger in 1941 at the very beginning of the Nazi 's siege of Leningrad.

The artist willed all his work "to the State, so that it will form the basis of a museum of analytical art"

Filonov's main theoretical work is The ideology of Analytical Art

Art of the Avant-Garde in Russia: Selections from the George Costakis Collection, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1981

Filonov's Paintings at the Gallery People History

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