Russian watercolorist Sergey Solomko
Russian watercolorist Sergey Solomko (1867 – 1928) was a Member of the the St. Petersburg and Russia Association of Artists. The created by the artist world represented the trends in Russian art, known as decadent. And very soon the word itself has become almost dirty decadent. Decadents believed that only in complete departure from the illustration of political or social aspects of life is the freedom of creativity, to which they aspired. Prominent artist and art historian of the time called Solomko “General of decadence and mysticism.” Storm of indignation swept the artistic environment, however, had no impact on the work of Sergey Solomko, and his perception by the public. Sergey Solomko was born 10 August 1867 in St. Petersburg, and was baptized 12 September at St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Descended from the hereditary nobility of the province of Chernigov. Son of Colonel Sergei Afanasievich Solomko (1835-1897).
Sergey Solomko spent his childhood in the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg suburb – Strelna. He graduated from the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he studied in 1883-1887, then in 1887-1888 – at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg.
At the end of the 1880s he began working with art magazines as an illustrator. Sergey Solomko was first published in 1888 in the journal “North”. At the same time began to collaborate with the magazine “Niva”. In addition, he painted for magazine “World of Art”, “The Jester” and others. Besides, he illustrated Pushkin’s “The Stone Guest” (1895), “Drowned” (1895), “The Tale of Tsar Saltan” (1896), “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” (1897), Anton Chekhov’s “Kashtanka” (1892), as well as the book “The Song of the Merchant Kalashnikov” by Mikhail Lermontov (1900) and “Dead Souls” by Nikolai Gogol (1901). Another type of his artwork were sketches of theater performances in order to publish them in theatrical periodicals. Sergey Solomko painted posters, published postcards, and created several series of postcards on the themes of Russian antiquities.
1900s was the peak of popularity of the artist. Popularity for not only historical watercolors and book illustrations, but also work in the field of jewelry and costume. Thus, the artist created models for the Imperial Porcelain Factory, and collaborated with jeweler Faberge. In 1903 he performed sketches of ancient costumes for the masquerade ball in the Winter Palace.
Since 1910 he lived permanently in Paris. Living in France, Sergey Solomko continued to participate actively in the artistic life of Russia, and in particular, to take part in exhibitions. Watercolors of the artist were reproduced in the magazines “Sun of Russia” and “Sparks.”
In 1916 he worked on the orders of the Commission for the collection and storage of trophies of WWI and perpetuating it in the memory of posterity. Besides, was engaged in the creation of the Museum of the First World War. In addition, on the request of the Commission, he painted portraits of members of the Order of the Russian Expeditionary Force in France. While in France, Sergey Solomko began to turn to a new art form for himself – a theatrical costume. There are two examples of his work for the best dancers of the beginning of XX century – Matilda Kshesinskaya and Anna Pavlova.
In 1921 Sergey Solomko participated in the exhibition of artists of the Imperial Academy of Arts in Petrograd, opened in Paris gallery Magellan. Later, in 1925 he participated in the creation of the Russian Institute of Industrial Arts in Paris.
In the second half of the 1920s Sergey Solomko was seriously ill. He died in 1928 at the Russian House of Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois, and was buried in the local cemetery.
Russian watercolorist Sergey Solomko