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 Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi  (1842 - 1910)

About: Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi


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Lived/Active: Russian Federation/Ukraine      Known for: luminous landscape painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Arkhip Kuindzhi
1842 (Mariupol, Ukraine)

Russian Federation/Ukraine

by Viktor Vasnetsov 1869

Often Known For
luminous landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born in the Ukraine in Mariupol, Arkhip Kuindzhi was raised in the city of Taganrog in a family supported meagerly by a father, who was Greek and a shoemaker.  Both parents died when Kuindzhi was six years old, so from a young age he worked hard to support himself by finding  jobs that included church construction, grazing animals, and helping in the shop of a corn merchant.  From 1860 to 1865, he retouched photos and then unsuccessfully tried to have his own photography shop.  Ultimately he moved to St. Petersburg and studied at the Academy of Arts from 1868 and was voted into full membership in 1893. 

However, in rebellion against the Academy, he associated with a group of Russian realist artists, Peredvizhniki, which translated means 'the wanderers'.  They focused on rebelling against the tight strictures of academic restrictions, and by 1870 had become organized as the Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions.  From 1871 to 1923, they arranged 48 circulating exhibitions with the goal of showing in realist style the diversity of Russian life.

In 1872, he ceased studying at the Academy and did freelance painting, and the following year, his painting, The Snow, earned the bronze medal at the London International Art Exhibition.  During that time his landscape paintings showed much influence of the Peredvizhniki (Wanderers) group.

As he matured as an artist, Arkhip Kuindzhi did painting of scenes of nature that were expressive, illuminated with lighting effects, panoramic with high horizons and intensely colored.

Beginning 1892, he lectured as a Professor at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, and two years later became Director of the landscape workshop.  But in 1897, Academy authorities terminated his employment because of hi sympathy with protesting students.  Ultimately he created his own association of artists, which became known as the Society A.I. Kuindzhi.

Source:  (Reference:  V.S. Manin, Arkhip Ivanovich Kuinji, Leningrad, 1990, ISBN 5-7370-0098-2)

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