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Home ARTISTS (A - F) Formozov, Valerian

Formozov, Valerian

Valerian Formozov - CornflowersValerian Formozov - On LadogaValerian Formozov - Mstino LakeValerian Formozov - MarchValerian Formozov - VisitingValerian Formozov - WaitingValerian Formozov - Winter RoadValerian Formozov - The Beginning of AutumnValerian Formozov - ItValerian Formozov - Corner of a ShedValerian Formozov - ConversationValerian Formozov - In the ForestValerian Formozov - Birch TreesValerian Formozov - Sketch of Forest
(click thumbnail to enlarge)
Valerian Formozov - Cornflowers

SOLD 27" x 19" oil on board signed 1963

On Ladoga
Valerian Formozov - On Ladoga


Mstino Lake
Valerian Formozov - Mstino Lake


Valerian Formozov - March


Valerian Formozov - Visiting


Valerian Formozov - Waiting


Winter Road
Valerian Formozov - Winter Road


The Beginning of Autumn
Valerian Formozov - The Beginning of Autumn


It's Going to Be Frosty
Valerian Formozov - It


Corner of a Shed
Valerian Formozov - Corner of a Shed


Valerian Formozov - Conversation


In the Forest
Valerian Formozov - In the Forest


Birch Trees
Valerian Formozov - Birch Trees


Sketch of Forest
Valerian Formozov - Sketch of Forest









1921 - 2004

Valerian Formozov was born in 1921 into the family of a priest in the village of Tepelevo, in Russia's Gorky region.  In 1937 he entered the Art School of Gorky. He became a Red Army soldier in 1940, and served in the Great Patriotic War.  In 1946, he was awarded the Patriotic War Order for his valor and received a number of medals.

Upon his release from the army, he entered the Latvian Art Academy in Riga where he studied under Edward Kalnynsh and Jan Tilberg.  He graduated from the Gorky Art School in 1949 and from the Latvian Art Academy in 1952.  Formozov taught at Latvia's two leading art schools in Riga from 1952 to 1964.  In 1953 he was invited to join the Union of Artists of Latvia.  He was chosen to become a member of the Union of Russian Artists in 1956, and was invited to the "Academic Dacha (country house) named after Repin" near Vyshny Volochek, which he visited at least once a year thereafter.

In 1964 he moved to Moscow and began working in a Union of Russian Artists studio.  In 1967, he bought a log cabin in the Tver region close to the Academic Dacha, where he spent most of his time painting.  He was finally able to settle in a countryside where, he said, "wherever you look subjects ask you to paint them."

With his rich heritage of academic training and love for creating art en plein-air, Formozov developed his own impressionistic style which is luminous and strong in composition and which he intends to convey from sensitivity and understanding of nature's subtle but powerful influences, and of the profound effect seasonal cycles have on people, animals and landscapes.  Although nature is a constant source of inspiration for the artist, several series have emerged and evolved which reflect his sensitivity to certain events and circumstances of his life.

In his work, he searched for understanding of events that war left in its wake, not only on himself, but on other soldiers as well.  Yet, his paintings are not political in their content. 

His series on the post-war fate of peasant women emerged from the legacy of his time: the war time destruction, the depopulation of rural areas for the sake of collectivism, Khruschev's various "experiments".  His paintings ask and, at the same time, answer the question: "Will the wounds of the people's soul ever heal?"

Hardship, loneliness, and life's miseries are portrayed against a colorful backdrop of bright quilts, in warm, neat and orderly surroundings.  Hope, love and acceptance have made these women accept their fate and the fate of their homeland.  These paintings are historical in their content and will be a legacy for future generations.

His village motifs series depict the simple, serene and rhythmic existence in small villages.  The repetitiveness of the seasons impart a calm, peaceful effect on everyday life: the same chores need to be done year after year.  Such acceptance provides serenity amid chaos and the hardships that lie ahead.  Life goes on.

Formozov seeks his inspiration in the poetry of nature, its rhythm.  He describes it himself: "I am fascinated by a landscape in the moonlight.  I take incredible pleasure in working on a quiet, frosty, moon-filled night during winter, autumn, or a warm April evening.  I enjoy working alone when everyone is asleep and I am in a solitary tete-a-tete with nature.  I work with inspiration.  I hear a dog barking lazily in the night, the ice cracking on the river, a wolf howling far or even near.  And I, I stand and practice witchcraft at my canvas."

From 1967 to 1990 Formozov was an active participant of the Baltic Republics, All Russia, and Moscow exhibitions.  Exhibitions outside Russia include: "A Night in Old Moscow" at the Meridian International House, Washington, DC; One-Man Show at the International Club, Washington, DC; One-Man Show at Décor - Landscapes and Portraits 1945-1993, Greenwich, CT; Exhibition for "A Salute to Van Cliburn" sponsored by the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, Washington, DC; Paris, France; Exhibition at Atlanta Art Expo, Atlanta, GA 1995.

From Oct 8, 2016 to February 26, 2017, The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis hosted the exhibition, “The Art of Valerian Formozov: Visions of the Russian Heartland.”

He is listed on page 88 of Matthew Bown’s, A Dictionary of Twentieth Century Russian and Soviet Painters.