Georgy Grigorievich Nissky

Georgy Grigorievich Nissky

1903 —1987
  • Bronze medal at the World Exhibition in Paris (1937)
  • Winner of the Stalin prize of the third degree (1951)
  • Silver medal of the USSR Academy of Arts (1964)
  • Order of the Red Banner of Labour
  • Full member of the USSR Academy of Arts (1958)
  • People's artist of the RSFSR (1965)
Georgy Nissky was a successful, renowned Soviet artist, who held a high official position in the cultural sector of the Soviet Union; a virtuoso of innovative industrial landscapes and an accomplished marine painter, as well as, one of the precursors of the "severe style". Nissky was born on January 21, 1903, in the village of Novobelitsa, near Gomel, in Belarus in the family of a doctor. The artist's childhood, which he spent at a small railway station in Mogilev province, where his father worked, was strongly imprinted in the heart and soul of the future artist and later found expression in his paintings. This urge to display the railway theme, industrialisation, transport, technical progress along with movement, speed, and rhythm of the XX century - all these motives have become the most significant ones in the artist's work. Georgy Grigorievich's artistic experiments related to the creation of the image of a new generation of people and representation of its contemporary environment. However, the artist stands out for giving these works, which depict the world of technology and progress, a poetic aura, an emotional feeling, a sense of spirituality. The artist was rarely drawing anything from real life. This quality allowed him to make his landscapes especially unique, subject to talented, extraordinary imagination, the original vision of the artist. In Nissky's work, there is always a feeling of a man somewhere nearby, his invisible presence, which is evident in the traces and transformations left by him in nature. Even in such cases, when the figures themselves are not in the picture, it is a powerful reflection and a subtle understanding of modern reality. Nissky started to take an interest in art at an early age. His neighbours were playing a crucial role in Nissky's earliest artistic development - the painter of icons, Petrov, who became Nissky's first mentor, and a local artist and student named Zorin, who introduced the young boy to the work of the outstanding artistic organisation, Mir Iskusstva ("The World of Art"). 

Sixteen-year-old Georgy Grigorievich started his artistic education in the Gomel art studio named after M. A. Vrubel, under the guidance of A. Y. Bykhovsky. After graduation, in 1921, he went off to Moscow. Nissky entered the preparatory courses at the Higher Art and Technical Workshops. In 1923, Georgy Grigorievich transferred to the Faculty of Painting, where he continued to learn from the distinguished artists and talented teachers R. R. Falk and A. D. Drevin. At that time, Nissky was making his living by illustrating books. Alongside with study and work, Georgy Grigorievich was strenuously engaged in sports, with particular emphasis on volleyball. In general, the sport was an essential component not only in the artist's life but also in his paintings. Later, in 1944, Nissky became the champion of the Fifth Volga sailing regatta in Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod). Nissky graduated the Vkhutemas-Vkhutein in 1930, with the diploma work "The Revolt of the French sailors in Odessa", which is now stored in the State Tretyakov gallery. Since the 1920s, Georgy Grigorievich has enthusiastically participated in the Society of Easel Painters (OST) activities. One of the most significant members of the society was Alexander Deineka, with whom Georgy Grigorievich had met in 1926, and who had an immense impact on Nissky. In 1928, Nissky went to Novorossiysk, where his exceptional talent of a marine painter has awakened. Being completely fascinated with the sea's beauty, the artist subsequently created a number of illustrations for literary works on the sea topic, namely, the books of Novikov-Priboi "Tsushima" and Sobolev "Sea soul".

In 1930-1931, the artist worked as a designer and creator of visual propaganda in the Far East Army. Such vivid, distinguished works as "The Autumn. Semaphores", a painting that has earned the recognition and love of the French Fauve artist Albert Marquet, as well as, "October" and "On the ways" were created in the early 1930s. Then, in 1936, Nissky together with other artists, Deineka, G. G. Ryazhsky and F. S. Bogorodsky, went to Sevastopol and Balaklava, to the Black Sea coast. That journey has a strong presence in the artist's work as local nature, and especially the sea highly inspired him. The artist was charmed by the sea and water during the whole course of his artistic career. He did a lot of sailing on ships, speedboats, and even experienced the submarine, and owned his personal yacht in Moscow. Georgy Grigorievich travelled a lot around the country, bringing back home many sketches, ideas and inspiration, which were transformed into such paintings as "In the Far East", for which the artist received a silver medal of the Academy of Arts. After seascapes, in the post-war years, the heart of the artist was taken over by a landscape with the machines and various mechanisms as part of it, but also by the water reservoirs of the Moscow region. One of the most interesting elements of the artist's career is his romantic gouache works, imbued with the atmosphere of phantasmagoria, and despite its small size, with monumental expressiveness. Georgy Grigorievich died after a long struggle with a serious illness on June 18, 1987, in Moscow and was buried at the Kuntsevo cemetery. His works are present in the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, and many other important museums in Russia and other nearby countries.


(Предисл). Дейнека, А. (1961) Георгий Григорьевич Нисский: альбом репродукций. Москва: Советский художник.
Киселев, М., Ф. (1972) Георгий Нисский: монография. Москва: Изобразительное искусство.
Острой, О., С. (1966) Георгий Григорьевич Нисский. Ленинград: Художник РСФСР.
Халаминский, Ю. (1961) Георгий Григорьевич Нисский: монография. Москва: Издательство АХ.