Artist biography

Serge Poliakoff 1906-1969

School of Paris abstract painter. Born in Moscow. Left Russia in 1919 and, after moving from Constantinople to Sofia, Belgrade, Vienna and Berlin, settled in Paris in 1923. Began to study painting in 1930 at the Académie Frochot and the Grande Chaumière, supporting himself by playing the guitar in the evenings. Lived 1935-7 in London, where he studied at the Slade School. Returned to Paris in 1937; met Kandinsky, Sonia and Robert Delaunay and Freundlich, and in 1938 painted his first abstract pictures. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie L'Esquisse, Paris, 1945. Awarded the Kandinsky Prize in 1947. Attained his mature style c.1948, though it was not until 1952 that he was able to give up his career as a professional musician and devote his full time to painting. Designed sets for Roland Petit's ballet Contre-point 1957. Took French nationality in 1962. Died in Paris.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.616