Konstantin Korovin Russian, 1861-1939


Konstantin Korovin is considered the first Russian impressionist to have successfully combined French impressionism and Russian soulfulness. He was particularly sensitive to changes in light at various times of day and in various seasons.


Konstantin Korovin discovered Western European art while studying at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1875–1883) under the famous academician Vassili Polenov. In 1887 the artist made the first of several trips to Paris where he settled permanently in 1923.


Korovin was fascinated by the nightlife of the French capital at the turn of the century, and it became his subject of predilection. The theme of the ‘city of lights’ with which Korovin experimented in his early paintings, was influenced by his travels in Northern Europe and found its fullest expression in his night scenes of Paris, which masterfully capture the kaleidoscopic and ever-changing nature of the city. The colours grow dim in the half-light of dusk, and the trembling of the lamplight is suggested by short, precise brushstrokes.


For Korovin, painting the world around him was a way of expressing his inner joy. His contemporary Konstantin Yuon noted: ‘Korovin’s art is a visual representation of the artist’s happiness and joie de vivre. The colours of the world smiled at him and hypnotised him.’