Geli Mikhailovic Korzhev, prominent 20th century Russian painter, died this week.
Born in 1925 in Moscow, Korzhev’s personal philosophy and artistic career were influenced by the social context and standards that defined life in the Soviet Union. Evacuated as a teenager from Moscow during the Second World War, Korzhev later graduated from the prestigious Surikov Institute in 1950.
Korzhev was a teacher at the Stroganov Institute of Art in Moscow, and also a member of the Union of Soviet Artists. In 1968, he became the chairman of the Moscow branch of that organization. His paintings are part of major Russian collections and have been displayed in North America at the Smithsonian Institution, the Guggenheim Museum, and other institutions.
In 2007, The Museum of Russian Art staged the first retrospective of Korzhev’s work held in America. In collaboration with curators at the State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg) and the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), Raising the Banner: The Art of Geli Korzhev featured 61 paintings from throughout Korzhev’s prolific career.
Works by Korzhev can be seen now at The Museum of Russian Art, both in The Anniversary Celebration: A Decade of Russian Art and Culture and in the Discovery Corner.