The Colors of the World Smile: Konstantin Korovin


Today marks the 69th anniversary of the death of Konstantin Korovin (1861-1939), a "famous painter" of Russia who is little-known in the U.S. Although Korovin disliked categorizations, he is considered one of the first Russian Impressionists with works like "Parisian Street." A bit about his life:

1. When Konstantin Korovin first entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture at age 14, he was studying in the architecture program. After two years, he switched to the painting department, and then went on to the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. Just three short months into his study, though, he returned to Moscow, as he found the teaching methods at the Academy of the Arts to be outdated.

2. Paris played a large role in Korovin's life, as evidenced by his many "Parisian Boulevard" paintings. Of his first visit to Paris in 1885, he wrote, "Paris was a shock for me"¦ Impressionists"¦ in them I found everything for what I was scolded back at home, in Moscow." In 1900, he designed the Central Asia section of the Russian Empire pavilion at the World Exhibition in Paris. Later, in 1924, he permanently moved to Paris, where he remained until his death.

3. During World War I, Korovin worked as a camouflage consultant. Although he suffered from both a nervous illness and heart disease, and thus was in poor health, he still spent much of the time at the front line.

4. A pupil of Korovin's described his teacher thusly: "Unusually emotional and impatient to act, he quickly burned with enthusiasm about everything that fell under his painter's eye"¦ in everything he found the poetry of truth"¦" Korovin's enthusiasm is seen in his own comments about painting—"We need paintings that speak to the heart and that the soul responds to"¦ We need light, we need more joy and more light"—and in his paintings themselves. As a fellow artist once remarked, "Korovin's painting is the embodiment in imagery of the artist's happiness and joy of living. All the colours of the world beckoned to him and smiled at him.

5. Korovin had a son, Alexey, who also became a painter. Sadly, due to an accident in childhood, both of Alexey's feet had to be amputated. In 1950, at the relatively young age of 53, he committed suicide.

A larger version of "Parisian Street" is available here. Fans should check out the Korovin gallery on Wikimedia. "Feel Art Again" appears every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. You can e-mail us at with artist suggestions or details of current exhibitions.