This fall as we were sailing one of ourtable mate was bidding at the art auction and brought a print of the oil painting they had purchased to the table. To my surprise it was of a costume used in a movie and painted by a Russian painter, graphics designer, costume designer and set designer Yuri Annenkov – I had never heard of him but they have been purchasing his painting that he did of the sketches that he did as a costume designer for years. With the help of one of Ragged Cloths members – Natalya from New York (she looked up Yuri and translated the Russian for me) I was able to find some of his other work and be certain this was the same artist.
Yuri worked in the theater early on and movies later designing sets and costumes. He lived in Russia, Germany and finally settled in Paris until his death in 1974 – he was born in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to a family in exile for collaborating in the assassination of Alexander II. In 1892 the family returned to St. Petersburg. Yuri did not receive a formal art education but studied in the studio of S.M.Zeidenberg and at the Technical Drawing School of Baron Stieglitz.
The top picture is of Helena Annenkov 1917 – Yuri’s wife. Text is in Russian (thank you to Natalya)
What caught my attention was the oil paintings of the elegant women’s costume drawings -the prints that I saw were of period costumes – then in researching him I found the ballerina’s tutu’s, each painting included swatches of the fabrics used to make the costume. The lines are fine and the garments flowed with ease. His more recent work has a light background so you could see the element of the designs.
The ballerina is a sketch with the cloth that was used for the tutu. The painting is not as clear as the one I saw but you get an idea. I found a lot of history of Yuri but not much in the line of paintings. Take a look at www.artnet.com and www.russianavantgard.com for some of his other work and if you happen to find a site with the costume designs let us know. He was nominated for an Oscar for “The Earning of Madame de” but did not get it. He designed for over 50 films mainly in the style of classic modeme (could not find the meaning for modeme in the dictionary).
In 1966 his memoirs were published “Journal of my Meetings, Cycle of Tragedies” in which he talks about Russian and Soviet culture with sharp irony.