Mikhail Larionov

Born 1881, Tirapsol, Odessa, Russian Empire

Died 1964, Fontenay-aux-Roses, France


1898   Begins studying at the Moscow Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture under the instruction of Isaac Levitan and Valentin Serov.

1900   Meets Natalia Goncharova, with whom he would have a lifelong relationship.

1902   Begins painting in the Impressionism style.

1906   His style encompasses Post-Impressionism and Neo-primitive style, derived partially from Russian sign painting.  Participates in the exhibitions of the World of Art, the Union of Russian Artists, the Moscow Association of Artists, and the Salon d' Automne in Paris. 

1908   Arranges the Golden Fleece Exhibition in Moscow, which includes paintings from Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent Van Gogh.

1909   Founds the Russian artistic group Bubnovyi valet (Jack of Diamonds), composed of several artists with an interest in primitivism and provincial folk art.

1911   First solo show runs in Moscow for one day.

1912   Founds the more radical artist group, Oslinyi Khvost (Donkey's tail), with Goncharova. This group is more focused on Russian primitivism and the exclusion of foreign influence.

1913   Creates Rayonism, the first near-abstract artistic movement in Russia. Its principles are outlined in Larionov's manifestos. He also intiates Neo-Primitivism, which fuses together Fauvism and Expressionism.

1915   Leaves Russia to work in Paris for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russes.

1919   Settles in Paris, collaborating with Cubist and Dada painters and poets.

1920s  Focuses on graphic work while continuing to work as a set designer and artistic director for Diaghilev.

1928   Organizes the first major exhibition of modern French art for the Soviet Union at Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery.

1929   After Diaghilev's death, Larionov returns to oil painting, but he continues to study dance and design for the ballet occasionally.

1939   Obtains French citizenship.

1940s/50s   Poor health confines him to his apartment during this time, and he spends his remaining years in poverty after suffering a stroke in 1950.