Serge Poliakoff was a Russian-born French modernist painter born in Moscow in 1900. He was the thirteenth of fourteen children in a religious family, and the iconography of the church piqued his interest in art. He enrolled in the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture but left Russia in 1918. Until 1923, Poliakoff travelled through Eastern Europe, supporting himself by playing guitar at cabarets. He settled in Paris and attended Académie de la Grande Chaumière in 1929, followed by two years in London from 1935-37.
Polikoff’s stay in London was a large inspiration for his transition into abstract art, and he soon met other influential abstract modernists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, and Otto Freundlich. These influences largely catalysed Poliakoff’s fame. By 1962, his paintings were given their own room at the Venice Biennale. His work is still featured in exhibitions internationally, transcending his death in 1969.
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