Igor Pavlovich Obrosov

Igor Pavlovich Obrosov

1930 —2010
  • Laureate of the State prize of the USSR (1989)
  • Laureate of the State prize of the Russian Federation (2000)
  • Full member of the Russian Academy of Arts (1997)
  • People's artist of the RSFSR (1983)
Igor Obrosov was one of the major Soviet Russian artists, who always strived for the representation of the "truth of life" in his work; a teacher, a monumental and graphic artist, a vivid representative of the "severe style". The artist was working in the genre of portraiture, urban and rural landscape, domestic painting, still life. He created remarkable portraits of famous writers and poets, such as Vasily Shukshin, Bella Akhmadulina, Fyodor Tyutchev, Boris Vasiliev, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Obrosov's tempera graphics deserve particular attention: "Patriarch ponds. Morning", "Evening light. Patriarch's ponds" and other works of the Moscow cycle. Obrosov was born on May 23, 1930, in Moscow in the family of a famous Soviet scientist, surgeon, Health Commissioner in Siberia and Director of the Institute named after N. V. Sklifosovsky, P. N. Obrosov. The mother of the future artist, Tatiana Serova, was a gifted watercolourist artist but chose to become a doctor, and during the war, she held the post of chief physician in the military hospital. She has instilled an interest in drawing and a love of art in little Igor. When Igor Pavlovich was seven years old, his father was repressed, and, a year later, in 1938 was executed. Subsequently, this tragic theme, Stalin's repressions, was firmly established in the Obrosov's oeuvre and has become one of the most important for the artist's self-expression. The artist's childhood, as well as the history of his family, was difficult and took place in the harsh conditions of hunger and constant wandering. His older brother Andrey was also repressed, he fled the camp and went to the Front during the war. Being seriously wounded near Stalingrad, Andrey was caught again, and, in general, spent about fifteen years in the camps. In 1954, Obrosov graduated from the Moscow Higher Art and Industrial School (formerly named after Stroganov). The young artist's works began to be displayed at exhibitions in the 1950s when the "severe style" has started to manifest itself. The artists of the 1960s, and Obrosov among them, who supported this new tendency, did not want to portray what is desirable as the actual state of affairs, but they craved to display the real, "harsh" reality. Rejecting the pretence of Socialist Realism, Igor Pavlovich turned to the peasant theme, to the connection of generations, to the image of the Russian village, inspired by nature and people living in the Tver, Yaroslavl, and Vologda regions.

In 1961, Obrosov joined the Union of artists of the USSR with a series of paintings "War years", which reflected the artist's recent past. Igor Pavlovich has devoted a significant part of his life to working with the Union of Artists, in particular, to involvement with the creative youth. Igor Pavlovich, like his father, a natural-born leader and public figure, has actively participated in the life of the Union of Artists and achieved the post of Deputy Chairman of the Union of Artists for Youth. Later, Obrosov served as Secretary of the Union of Artists of the RSFSR from 1972 to 1976, and from 1983 to 1989, he was called Secretary of the Union of Artists of the USSR. There was a period in the artist's biography when in the 1960s, he was excluded from the artistic-graphic organisation, which was responsible for the production of artistic commissions for the government. Obrosov was deprived of work, and, consequently, the guaranteed payment. Financially it was a difficult time for the artist and his family. Obrosov was fortunate enough to get a job in the publishing house "Malish" ("A kid"), where he was responsible for colouring books. The artist's career was filled with such rises and falls, the accusations of formalism and the public recognition. For his series of graphic works "The village in which I live" (1974), Obrosov received the award at the International Biennale of Graphics in Norway, and for a series of picturesque landscapes (1980) was awarded the International prize in Košice, in Czechoslovakia. In 1983, Obrosov was awarded the title of People's Artist of the RSFSR. In the same year, Igor Pavlovich was awarded the gold medal named after M. B. Grekov for the triptych "Dedicated to the Defenders of Moscow" (1983). Igor Pavlovich's talent of the teacher was especially evident when he headed the Department of Monumental and Decorative Art at the Moscow State Art and industrial University named after S. G. Stroganov in 1995-1997. Obrosov's solo exhibitions were held in the State Russian Museum, as well as, in the galleries of Europe, Canada and the United States. In 2001, the artist received the Order of Honour. During the last decade of his life, the artist took part in the construction of the temple, lived in the village of Obrosovo, was writing books and was engaged in charity work. Obrosov died August 5, 2010, in Moscow and was buried in the Donskoe cemetery. Igor Pavlovich's works are now stored in the State Tretyakov gallery, the State Russian Museum, the Russian Academy of Arts and other private collections and museums in Russia.


Васянин, А. (2008) Artpoisk. info [online] Обросов Игорь Павлович. Available at:
Воробьев, В., М. Молоковская центральная библиотека. [online] Основоположник "сурового стиля" Игорь Павлович Обросов. Available at:
Дехтярь, А. (1988) Игорь Обросов. Мастера Советского искусства. Москва: Советский Художник.
Лазарев, М. (2010) Игорь Обросов: Художник - творец. О жизни и о себе. Москва: Галерея Искусств "Интерколор".