Mikhail Dobroserdov


Mikhail Dobroserdov

Mikhail Dobroserdov was born in the village of Dubasischa in the Smolensk area in 1906. He spent his childhood and youth in the Far East, in Khabarovsk. He graduated from a teachers' preparatory college there in 1925, and began teaching in a school and on a campaign to abolish illiteracy. He had dreamt his entire life of becoming an artist. His dream finally came to fruition when he moved to Moscow and studied from 1926 to 1930 in Vkhutein under the artists A.A. Osmerkin, A.V. Shevchenko, K.N. Istomin, A.A. Labas, and S.V. Gerasimov. In 1936 he continued his education at the Institute in the studio of B.V. Ioganson. Periodically, beginning in the late 1930's, Dobroserdov taught at the Moscow Secondary Art School as well as the 1905 Art Institute. He was also director of the Art School for Disabled War Veterans. From 1954 to 1984, he taught at the 1905 Art Institute. He died in 1984.

Exhibitions partial list

Exhibitions:(partial list)
He had his first exhibit in 1931 and many more to follow in Moscow, throughout Russia and the former Soviet Union as well as abroad.

1946, All-Union Art Exhibition, Moscow

1960, Soviet Russia exhibition

Additional Information:

Recollections of the artist as seen in: Artist, Teacher, Friend, by V. M. Sidor
(published in the newspaper Artist of Russia: The Newspaper of the Artists' Guild of the Russian Federation)

When I am asked what artists I studied under, I always answer: Dobroserdov. During my time studying at Moscow Secondary Art School, in Leningrad Academy, and in the Surikov, I encountered many great teachers, some with more experience and some with less, all with different systems and talents. I think of them all gratefully, but one name, one face stands out: Mikhail Vladimirovich Dobroserdov.

It was the spring of 1943. Our school, Moscow Secondary Art School, had just returned to Moscow after evacuation. The older students filled the courtyard of the Young Pioneer building. We, the first year students, looked around timidly at this group. They all already looked like artists. It was a bit scary. Our teacher, Mikhail Vladimirovich Dobroserdov, arrived in our class carrying a book under his arm. He said little. For some reason, he addressed us all formally. And right away, he began working on a still life painting. Everyday objects appeared: baskets, pots, shovels, a potato, and even bricks. For me, a wide-eyed 14-year-old, this was a genuine revelation. It turned out that you could draw anything, and it could be interesting, and even beautiful. And how beautiful! And we began then working on painting ordinary objects, things we could find in those difficult, hungry years.

Then we would show our pieces to Dobroserdov. He always said little. As a result, every word he uttered was important: about tone, color, and form. He insisted that the first thing one had to do was to compose. Easier said than done! He walked around, checked out albums, looked about... "You look," he says, "at what nature tells you, where it leads you." Up? Down? To the right? Or maybe to the center? You obey nature, you feel it. Everything starts with the composition. Until this time I had never thought about how to place items on paper. It seems that the same objects can be arranged differently, ultimately producing completely different impressions. But it's not so simple: you have to start with the composition, and everything flows from there... We grew up and developed. We drew portraits, figures, and nature. And Dobroserdov continued to come to our class with his book under his arm. Composition was becoming our favorite class. And often, when we showed our sketches to Dobroserdov, he said things that became elemental in our creative pursuits for our entire lives. "You have to start with what is familiar to you and what you have experienced, with what is close to you and moves you, what you need to tell people about."

...The difficult war and post-war years passed; everyone's patriotism grew. Love for our homeland, for our history, our soldiers and our people was deeply impressed upon us... Yes, we had to start with what moved us! But Dobroserdov had already introduced a new exercise. We had to think not only about truth in general, but about generalized truth. We had to strive towards the images of Rembrandt, Surikov, Vrubel'

Many years have passed since this time. There have been many exhibits of Dobroserdov's work. They are done by a true master: each movement of the brush showcases tone, color, form and thought. His work is free of anything superficial, trendy, passing... His work is truly contemporary and based on a life of experience. A feeling of truth exists is his still life paintings, his portraits, and his landscapes.

Truth and honesty: this is the essence of Dobroserdov as an artist and a person. He taught us by his example. But in order to carry these characteristics through life, an artist needs to have courage, and as a result, these important attributes were invaluable to Dobroserdov. Like other artists- S. Gerasimov, A. Daineka, A. Plastov, P. Konchalovskii, V. Favorskii- M. Dobroserdov remained true in his work to the principles of the vital, patriotic art of Russian Realism. Even in his hardest days, Dobroserdov worked, remaining a perfectly pure person and artist. He believed that there was no subject in art that was greater than nature. This gave him strength. It is gratifying that his works are in the collections of the Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum, and many other museums in Russia: in Smolensk, Orlovsk, Bashkortostan, and others. For his fruitful creative work and his teaching, Dobroserdov was given the award "Medal of Honor," and was named an "Honored Artist of the Russian Republic."

The life and work of Mikhail Vladimirovich Dobroserdov is an example, especially for young artists, of selfless, honest service to art, great courage and determination.

Some quotes from his former students as seen in: 100th Anniversary of his Birth: An Artistic Legacy from January 2006 "'Our Izograf', a newspaper for artists, exhibit halls, and galleries" by Dagmara Papikyan, Art and Culture Researcher

G. M. Korzhev: "I love the artist Dobroserdov; I love his dramatic canvases about the war, with their striking, moving coloration. His still life paintings from the war years are brilliant work. Dobroserdov is a valuable representative of the Moscow School of Art. His paintings are monochromatic and not very bright, but truly deep, as his sense of artistic culture is great. He helped the concept of the artists' civic obligation, of their role in society."

V. M. Sidorov: "An exceptional artist and an exceptional teacher, the most humble... This is M. V. Dobroserdov. He quietly and calmly talked to us [his students] about art's complexity and spirituality, about how you have to devote your whole life to it, and he demonstrated this with his life and his art. This refined master and authentic philosopher included everything in his art: perspectives, convictions, life, existence, and finally, a picture; his picture is modest at first glance, even simple, but stands out for its depth and psychology. It is difficult to put a value on everything that he did for his students, but they pay him back with devotion and love."