LARIONOV Michael (Mikhail)
Russian painter and designer born in 1881, at Tiraspol, near Odessa, died in 1964. He attended courses in painting, sculpture and architecture in Moscow, and from 1898 onwards took an active part in artistic activities there. Larionov's early work was influenced by Impressionism. His fellow student Natalia Goncharova became his lifelong companion and artistic associate (they eventually married in 1955). In 1909, at the Society of the Free Aesthetic, he showed The Glass, a near abstract work which reflected the influence of the new Cubist movement. The following year Marinetti made a lecture tour in Russia, speaking on Futurism. He was triumphantly received in Moscow and St Petersburg, and his influence was soon felt there. That same year Larionov launched Rayonism by showing, at the Kraft Studio, canvases which were entirely composed of spots and rays. The Rayonist manifesto did not appear, however, until 1913. Larionov was a friend of Malevitch and the teacher of Tatlin, whose portrait he painted in the Rayonist technique. He went to Paris in 1914 and held a retrospective exhibition with his wife, the Russian painter Nathalie Gontcharova. The introduction to the Catalogue was written by Guillaume Apollinaire. In addition to his Rayonist works, Larionov did canvases representing soldiers or peasants, painted in a very primitive style. After making the acquaintance of Serge de Diaghilev, also in 1914, Larionov worked for many years for the Ballets Russes and almost completely gave up easel painting. His reputation was revived shortly before his death with retrospective exhibitions (jointly with Goncharova) in London ( Arts Council, 1961) and Paris ( Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1963).
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