La course effrénée de Phébus, 1943
Oil on cardboard
9.8 x 10.8 in. / 25 x 27.5 cm
b. 1888, Buguruslan, Russia
d. 1975, Villleneuve-Saint Georges, France
Born in 1888 in Buguruslan, Serge Charchoune attended academies in Moscow before leaving in 1912 for Paris, where he worked with Le Fauconnier at the independent Académie de la Palette. That same year he submitted work for the first time to the Salon des Indépendants. His first solo show in Paris was at the Galerie Fournet in 1920, and Charchoune joined the Dada movement in 1921, participating in their group exhibitions and contributing to a number of their reviews. In 1922 he visited Berlin and held a solo exhibition in the famous Der Sturm gallery. Upon Charchoune’s return to Paris, the critic André Salmon introduced him to the gallerist Jeanne Bucher, who exhibited his work in 1926.
Around the same time, Charchoune met the Purist artist Amédée Ozenfant, and he began to introduce the rigorous structure of Purism to his own inventive approach. Charchoune created compositions that alternated between lyrical organic forms and more geometrically ordered ones, calling this style “Paysages Elastiques,” or “Cubisme Ornemental.” His early experimentation with various aesthetics would culminate in the acclaimed series of the post-war years: Cycles Marins, Les Hommages, and Compositions Musicalistes.
In 1935, Charchoune began to analyze the relationship between art and music, which became the inspiration for the delicate monochrome abstracts of his mature period. Charchoune stated, “Music gives me the theme. While listening to music, I see the painting with my eyes closed, like a colored seam stretching out before me.”
Charchoune received great critical acclaim during his career and exhibited extensively in France and in cities abroad, including Barcelona, Stockholm, Brussels, New York, Geneva, and Prague. Major retrospectives of his work were held at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris in 1971; the Pouchkine Museum, Moscow in 2006; and the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. The artist’s work can be found in the collections of Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the Musée d’Art Moderne in Lille, among others.