Nikolai Sergeyev


Nikolai Sergeyev

Nikolai Sergeyev was born in the village of Kriukov in the rural district of Vereiskii on August 4, 1908. Beginning in 1924 he was living and working in Moscow. From 1928 to 1931 he attended courses at the Artists' Association of Revolutionary Russia guided by I. Mashkov. From 1933 to 1936 he studied at the Moscow Graphic Art Institute in the graphic art department. In 1936 he was admitted into the prestigious Surikov Institute, into the studio of V. V. Ioganson. In 1942, he graduated from the Surikov (under A. A. Osmerkin) receiving the schools top mark ("outstanding" which is very rarely given) for his graduation work titled From Native Land. In 1941 he participated in the military defense works near the city of Smolensk. Nikolai was admitted to the Artists Guild of the USSR in 1942. In 1943 Nikolai Sergeyev and 11 other academically accomplished artists were evacuated to Samarkand, Uzbekistan for the duration of the war. It looked like Moscow might fall to the Germans so the Soviet government decided to evacuate their most promising artists who they saw as cultural assets. Most artists remained in Samarkand for the duration of the war but Sergeyev decided to leave and fight for his country. In 1987 he was chosen as an honorary member of the Moskvorechie Artists Community, also known as "Moscow Voices". Sergeyev died on January 13, 1989.

Exhibitions partial list

Awards:(partial list)

An honorary member of the Moskvorechie Artists Community
Member of the Artists' Guild of the USSR, 1942

Exhibitions:(partial list)
Works shown frequently at Lazare Gallery, Charles City, VA; Walls Gallery, Wilmington, NC; Wallace Fine Art, Longboat Key, Fl; as well as James Yarosh Assoc., Holmdel, NJ.

Exhibitions throughout Russia, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Egypt, Italy, Spain, Israel, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, France and the United States.

1960, Soviet Russia, Moscow

1990, Solo-exhibition at the Moskvorechie Artist's Community

Collections:(partial list)

His works can be found in museums and private collections throughout Russia and the former Soviet Union as well as abroad.

Auctions:(partial list)

May 2004 Bukowskis-Horhammer, Helsinki,
Glitter, Oil on Canvas, 32.25 x 55.875, Lot #:441, Est. Sale Price: 95128.0

Artist Thoughts:

"...Life is a wonderful thing after all. But it is very, very, short...I am for immortality with all my heart..."

"A serious plein-air painter has to take the question of greens very seriously."

"A thin shroud of mist was rising from the lake towards the sky. Here and there puddles were covered with ice and the passing cars broke it into lumps scintillation the sun like a rainbow. That made the scene still more joyful."

"And so I am again on the shores of the lake with my easel. Before my eyes is a particularly joyful piece of nature. The golden willows are looking into the water against a background of the blue morning sky."

"Isolation in art is a hard burden, especially today, in our time. Some people understand art in a primitive way. It makes no difference to them what to paint; the main thing is to make money... I think happiness is something more than money."

"It was a splendid morning. I could not resist the temptation to go to the lake and paint before breakfast. The sky was a wonderful sight, its colors changing from pink to cold blue and the water had a gold luster. On one side a dark cloud was covering the sky and the lake became divided into two parts - one was plumb gray and the other, golden green. Bluish frost lay on the grass. An incomparable autumn beauty of the natural scene..."

"The evenings are exceptionally fine here with the trees and the sky picturesquely mirrored in the water. I feel like painting without an end. At times I hunt for beauty spots for several evenings, all excited in anticipation of the moment of accomplishment. When my work goes well, it gives me a dizzying feeling of happiness. After all, art is a great thing..."

"The trees are growing yellow and look very much like human hair with silver streaks."

"To me, art is a real problem; it is the goal of my life to which everything else is subordinated. Perhaps it will take the greater part of my life to attain it."

"Yesterday I witnessed a wonderful evening - the shore of the lake, dark bushes and their still darker reflection in the water. The moon came out when it was still light. I felt the urge to paint. When something is to my liking and I feel like painting it, it works out well."

"You can't imagine how fond I am of the characters of the big picture of mine! The thought that I have done so little as yet, that I have not yet clad them in flesh and blood brings me on the verge of crying. I feel I have great strength. I am not boasting - I feel it with all my heart..."

Excerpts from letters to his wife:
"There are amazing scenes here. Yellow trees. Aspen trees already shed their leaves. Earth and gray wooden structures... My hands get very cold when I am working. I can't stay long outdoors. By the time I am through with a sketch I can hardly utter a word. It is so difficult to paint foliage - its lacework."

Additional Information:

Nikolai Sergeyev's art proves that Russia has artists who are not swayed by the fashions of the day or time serving considerations but have their own independent views on art and depict reality sincerely and in a true to life manner. Nikoali did not think up loud innovations for the sake of market success. He worked hard, studying prototypes profoundly and emotionally. A viewer who finds himself amidst Sergeyev's landscapes senses above all the spiritual purity and clarity of the artist's vision of the natural scene which allows the sharing of the experience the artist felt when painting his works. Sergeyev is known for his masterfully depiction of the sky and the purity of his snow scenes. Sergeyev never accentuated the color in his paintings but always brings out, with amazing subtlety, the coloristic distinctions of each particular landscape, masterfully conveying the idea of its uniqueness. Sergeyev worked on a particular painting for many days and he never lost the keenness of the first impression until the completion of the work. He was an active and energetic person in everyday life, while in his art he appears to us as a subtle poet replete with the feelings of blissful adoration of Nature.

Nikolai Sergeyev worked for 10 years on a major, multi-figured painting, which bore a minor Christian symbol, which led to its subsequent public burning. He was arrested multiple times for using Christian symbolism in his work.

Sergeyev was an artist who believed a true artist should never let market success influence his subject matter. He very openly criticized artists that did so. He was very outspoken and opinionated which often made him enemies. Unfortunately for Sergeyev, his enemies tended to be the more market and politically motivated artists whose retaliation prevented his work from being displayed at the prominent All-Union exhibitions. Just one year after his death, a one-man exhibition of Sergeyev's work was mounted. All of Russia's greatest living artists attended and saw his body of work all together for the first time. All who attended were amazed at the quality of his painting. This exhibit has had a lasting effect and has led to Sergeyev becoming one of the most celebrated and respected artists of Soviet Russia.