Mihail Chemiakin

(Russian, b. 1943)

“I have not changed my ideas, I have not compromised my principles. It is you who have had to change.”

- Chemiakin

Poet, Producer, Musician, Sculptor, and Philosopher, Mihail Chemiakin is no doubt an artist who deserves recognition within the art world. Looking at Chemiakin’s work, it is clear he draws inspiration from cubism and surrealism, or perhaps more specifically, Picasso, Leger, and Dali. Chemiakin developed the philosophy of Metaphysical Synthesism, which was dedicated to the creation of a new form of icon painting based on the study of religious art. Exhibiting a wide range of artistic influences, colors, and subjects, Chemiakin surely has proven he is multifaceted artist. 

Chemiakin was born to a military family. His father, a Kabardian from the Caucasus Mountains Mikhail Petrovich Kardanov, had lost his parents and was adopted by a friend of his father's, White Army officer Piotr Chemiakin. The artist's father eventually became a Soviet Army officer. He received one of the first Orders of the Red Banner at the age of thirteen. Chemiakin's mother was an actress and poet Yulia Nikolaevna Predtechenskaya of Russian noble heritage. She met her future husband in 1941 with the start of the Great Patriotic War and asked him to take her to the front line. She served in cavalry under the command of Lev Dovator and took part in battles alongside her husband.

Mihail Chemiakin spent his early years in East Germany where his father served. His family returned to the Soviet Union in 1957. He studied at the secondary school of art affiliated with the Il’ya Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Leningrad, but was expelled from it in 1961 for «aesthetic deprivation» of classmates and failing to conform to Socialist Realism norms. Between 1959 and 1971 he did all kind of niche jobs and in-between took part in different art projects.

He later got a job at the Hermitage Museum. With his colleagues from the museum Chemiakin organized an exhibition in 1964, after which the director of the museum was fired and all the participants forced to resign. In 1967 he founded the group of artists called St. Petersburg. Together with the philosopher Vladimir Ivanov he created a treatise called Metaphysical Synthesism dedicated to «new forms of icon painting based on studying of religious art of all epochs and nations». He was subjected to forced psychiatric treatment and in 1971 he was exiled from the Soviet Union. According to Chemiakin, the KGB officer behind this actually saved him by offering to «quietly leave the country» with $50 in the pocket, because some people from the Artists' Union of the USSR insisted on his isolation.

He settled in France where he published Apollon-77, an almanac of post-Stalinist art, poetry, and photography. He moved to New York in 1981. Since the early 1990s he started visiting Russia once again, working on street shows by Slava Polunin, ballets by the Mariinsky Theatre, a TV series by Russia-K and other government-backed projects. In 2007 he returned to France where he currently resides.

Chemiakin works in a broad range of media and subjects, as can be seen in the 2010 two-volume book on his art, Mihail Chemiakin (Azbooka publishers, St. Petersburg). He has illustrated books for Mikhail Yupp. In 2001, commissioned by the City of Moscow, Chemiakin created a monument "Children Are the Victims of Adult Vices", a group of sculptures in a park 2000 feet south of the Kremlin, behind the British Ambassador's residence. Other sculptures by Chemiakin include Peter the Great in St. Petersburg's Peter and Paul Fortress, Peter the Great in London, Monument to Victims of Terrorism in Vladikavkaz (North Ossetia), Vladimir Vysotsky in Samara, Russia.

Since roughly 2001, he has been working as artistic designer on the upcoming Russian animated feature film Hoffmaniada. In 2001 he directed and designed an entirely new production of The Nutcracker for the Mariinsky Theater, where he also created a second ballet based on the same tale by Hoffman, "The Magic Nut". In 2010 the artist created a new production of "Coppelia" for the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater.

In addition to Chemiakin, American Fine Art, Inc. hosts a variety of other renowned masters including: Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Joan Miro, Andrew Wyeth, LeRoy Neiman, Salvador Dali, and more. To learn more about collecting, pricing, value or any other art information, please contact one of our International Art Consultants. We look forward to giving you the one on one attention you deserve when building your fine art collection.  We hope you find our website helpful and look forward to seeing you in Scottsdale soon.