Serge Charchoune

1888 - 1975

1888 – 1975

French artist and writer of Russian descent.

In 1905 Serge Charchoune entered the Kazan Art School. It was then, according to his recollections, that he recognized painting as his vocation. But Charchoune’s father was opposed to this hobby. Charchoune entered the army and in 1909 moved to Moscow. There he discovered French fauvism and German expressionism, gradually becoming their follower. He studied at the Moscow workshop of Ilya Mashkov. In 1911 the artist moved to Paris where he attended the Academy of Maria Vassilieva, another Russian emigrant artist, and the La Palette Academy. When World War I began, Charchoune moved to Barcelona. Ornaments and colours of the Spanish Mauritanian art influenced his method greatly: this is how Charchoune’s «ornamental cubism» appeared. 

After the February revolution of 1917 Charchoune enrolled in the Russian Expeditionary Force in France. In 1919 he demobilized and returned to Paris where he became close friends with the dadaists and an active participant in their actions. He met Amédée Ozenfant, the founder of purism, and became interested in this movement under his influence. Giorgio Morandi also influenced his work in this period. 

In 1922-1923 the artist relocated to Berlin where he began to publish his own magazine, Perevoz Dada, which was in circulation till 1973. Serge Charchoune also released self-published leaflets – compositions with serial titles: Transbordeur, Monument etc. Charchoune joined the circle close to the Sturm gallery where he communicated with the Russian artists M. Andreenko, K. Boguslavskaya, I. Puni. Here he moved from ornamental cubism to ornamental impressionism. In the 1930s Serge Charchoune almost ceased to create artworks and devoted himself mainly to literature. 

In 1943 the great collector Roger Dutilleul helped Charchoune rent a studio where the artist worked until 1960. In his later period he collaborated mainly with the Paris art dealer Raymond Greuze.

In 1971 a retrospective exhibition of Charchoune’s work was held at the Pompidou center in Paris. His artworks are included in the collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery (the artist bequeathed 31 of his paintings) and other museums.