Alexander Semenovich Vedernikov

Alexander Semenovich Vedernikov

1898 —1975
  • one of the most prominent artists of Leningrad school
  • Member of Leningrad Union of Artists

Alexander Vedernikov was an exceptional Soviet graphic artist and painter who stood out of the artistic crowd of that period and organically absorbed the best tendencies that the Western avant-garde could offer. Also, he was an excellent teacher and a member of the Leningrad Union of Artists. Vedernikov was born on November 23, 1898, on the river Volga, in a small town of Gorodets, in Nizhny Novgorod province, where he spent his childhood and youth. After serving in the army, Vedernikov, in 1921 - 1925, is undergoing artistic training at the Liberal Artists' Studios in Nizhny Novgorod State Art School. Vedernikov's mentors were well-known avant-garde artists A. V. Kuprin and A. V. Fonvizin. The impact that Vedernikov's teachers have had on his personal artistic style is massive. Kuprin has invested in the young artist a particular sense of colour, this utterly modernist and bold attitude to colour as an essential technical tool in addition to be the mechanism of transmission of emotional state. Fonvizin instilled the artist a formally-constructive type of the composition, which is so evident in the works of Cezanne. The mentors also relied on the traditions of Russian folk art, which gave a striking, fresh combination along with new, avant-garde views and resulted in original, exciting work of the young artist.

In 1924 Vedernikov arrived, like many ambitious and talented artists at the time, to conquer Leningrad and entered the Leningrad Art and Technical Institute (former Academy of Arts) to the painting department in the studio of O. E. Braz. Also, the artist has frequently visited studios of A. E. Karaev and P. N. Filonov. Vedernikov never finished the course, leaving his studies in 1927. He submitted his diploma work and graduated only in 1954 at the graphic faculty of the Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after I. E. Repin in Leningrad. In 1928 the artist joined the group "Circle of Artists" and began to take part in exhibitions. In 1929, his work was exhibited in London.

In the 1930s, Vedernikov mainly painted urban landscapes, views of Leningrad, which made up a significant part of his work. In these works, the artist's passion for French post-impressionist A. Marke is obvious. The exquisite way of expression and the extreme simplicity of pictorial means are very characteristic of Vedernikov's urban scenes. The image of the river Neva, the silhouettes of buildings and people, appearing out of the mist, trembling surface of the water - all this is shrouded in the common lyrical motif. It is especially noticeable that Vedernikov was very interested in the French art movements such as Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. No wonder the artist was called the "Russian Matisse" because the influence of Henri Matisse is present in almost every work of Vedernikov. Working in an experimental art studio in the Leningrad Union of Soviet Artists in 1939, Vedernikov spent a lot of time exploring the possibilities of colour printing and even managed to develop his own printing system. In 1945, the artist created a series of works, sketches of the monuments ruined during the war, including great Russian architecture in Pskov, Tsarskoye Selo and Pulkovo.

In the same year of 1945, Vedernikov held a solo exhibition in Leningrad. From 1950 to 1970, Vedernikov was having a very productive period. During that time, he created a lot of landscapes, interiors and still lifes in watercolour, pencil and oil media, and worked as a designer as well as actively was exploring the possibilities of colour lithography. Throughout his life, Vedernikov occasionally taught at the Repin Institute, the Leningrad Institute of Civil Engineering, and at the St. Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering. The artist died January 21, 1975, in Leningrad at the age of seventy-six years. His posthumous solo exhibitions took place in 1978 in the hall of the Leningrad Branch of the Union of Artists, in 1983 in the Union of Artists of the USSR in Moscow, and in 2001 in the "Manege" in Moscow. The artist's works are kept in the Tretyakov Gallery, Nizhny Novgorod Art Museum, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, in the collections of MOMA (New York), and in many other museums and private collections in Russia, France, Germany, the UK, Finland. 


Иванов, С. (2007). Неизвестный соцреализм. Ленинградская школа. Санкт-Петербург: НП-Принт.

Павлинская, А. (1991). Александр Ведерников. Москва: Советский Художник. (n.d.). Александр Ведерников. [online] Available at:

Вольценбург, O., Горина, T. (1970). Художники Народов СССР. Москва: Академия Художеств СССР. Научно-исследовательский институт теории и истории изобразительных искусств.