Isaac Ilich Levitan
Born in the Kibarty trading quarter near Verzhbolovo (Virbalis) in Suvalki province (now Lithuania) in 1860. Died in Moscow in 1900. Levitan was the son of a railroad employee. During 1873–1883, he studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture under A.K. Savrasov and V.D. Polenov. He earned a living by giving private lessons, and worked for a number of journals that published his drawings and lithographs. He worked in the decor workshop of S.I. Mamontov’s private opera, taught painting in fine arts classes, and from 1892, taught at the Moscow school where his students included M.F. Larionov, P.V. Kuznetsov and M.S. Saryan. Every year, Levitan traveled to the Moscow area to work on sketches, and went on more distant trips across Russia to the Crimea and Volga areas. He also visited European countries: Germany, France and Italy. Levitan was a member of the Moscow Art Lovers Society from 1888, a member of the Association of Traveling Exhibitions from 1891, and a member of the Munich Secession trend from 1897. In 1898, he was bestowed the title of Academician. Levitan worked in oils and watercolors, he was a graphic artist, and he created several pastels. He was a remarkable Russian lyrical landscapist, a master of “mood landscapes” in which the wide and boundless spaces of Russian nature are often colored in melancholic and elegiac tones.
Valetin Aleksandrovich Serov
Portrait of the artist Isaac Ilich Levitan
oil on canvas
82 x 86 cm
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Works by this artist