Monday, August 4, 2014

Aleksandr Davidovitch Drevin

Portrait of a Woman
oil on canvas
80.5 x 67 cm
location unknown

Aleksandr Davydovich Drevin (1889-1938) was a Latvian painter who was a master of landscape, portrait, genre and still life painting. His paintings have been compared to those of Vlaminck.

He studied at an art school in Riga between 1904-1907. In 1906, he took part in revolutionary activity and was arrested. Between 1908-1914 he continued his education at the Riga Municipal Art School. From 1915 he lived in Moscow where he came to know avant-garde artists. He studied the new trends from Cubism to abstract painting. However, from the beginning of 1920s he tried to create a new art form and focused on subjects from nature. His favourite genre became landscape painting. He participated in establishing the Museum of Contemporary Art and was head of the Museum of Painting Culture in 1920. He became a professor of painting and taught at the All-Russia Art and Technology Workshops-All-Russia Art and Technology Institute between 1920-1930.

He often painted a "brutal primitivism", lacking any political message or any purpose at all. His creative work represented an expressive technique in Soviet art which was in direct opposition to the characteristics of socialist realism. He highlighted to his colleagues the significance of culture in art and its professional skill. His art received criticism and in 1930 he was prevented from teaching. On 17 January 1938, he was arrested by the Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del (NKVD) during the Great Purge, and was executed by shot on 26 February. In 1957 he was posthumously rehabilitated.