Nikolai Efimovich Timkov

Nikolai Efimovich Timkov

1912 —1993
  • Honoured artist of the RSFSR (1987)
Nikolai Timkov was a distinguished representative of the Leningrad school of painting of the second half of the XX century and a master of landscape, who is often called a 'Russian Impressionist'. The artist has first become greatly recognised at the early stage of his career for his remarkable gouaches and watercolours of besieged Leningrad during the WWII. Later, he has found his vocation in the celebration of Russian nature using contemporary compositional, pictorial and linear arrangements. Nikolai Efimovich was born on August 12, 1912, in the village of Nakhichevan cottages near Rostov-on-Don in a big family of Saratov peasants Efim Egorovich Timkov and Vasilisa Timofeevna Ablyazova. Timkov's parents died when the future artist was only twelve years old, and the boy was taken care of by his older sisters, who encouraged and supported Timkov's interest in drawing. After eight years of school, Timkov embarked on the path of a professional artist, entering the Rostov Art School, which carefully preserved the influence of the Russian landscape school of the XIX century. His mentor was a student of V. D. Polenov, landscape painter A. S. Chinenov, who highly honoured the work of I. I. Levitan. In 1931, after successful graduation, full of hopes and expectations, the young man went to Moscow in search of his artistic path and to continue his education. However, the first time Nikolai Yefimovich worked in the publishing house "Izogiz" as a labourer, and after that, he was employed as a graphic artist and decorator in the cooperative partnership 'Vsekokhudozhnik'. Timkov was fortunate to get acquainted with valuable and highly esteemed people such as P. Radimov and other Moscow artists of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia. Despite the fact that the next stage of his artistic education had to be postponed, during that period Timkov was actively exploring himself and his artistic inclinations as well as often engaged in self-education in the Tretyakov gallery. He was practising working en plein air on a regular basis applying those techniques that famous artists S. V. Malyutin and M. V Nesterov had recommended him.

In 1933, on the advice of I. Brodsky, whom the artist had met through Radimov, Timkov moved to Leningrad, a city that would become a real home for the artist for the rest of his life, and entered the Institute of painting, sculpture, and architecture named after I. E. Repin at the faculty of painting. Timkov's teachers were such prominent artists as M. D. Bernstein, A. A. Rylov, A. M. Lyubimov, V. A. Serov. In 1939, Nikolai Efimovich graduated from the Institute from the Brodsky's studio with a diploma work 'Day off outside the city', a landscape and domestic genre painting. Immediately after graduating from the Academy, Timkov was called up for military service in the Baltic fleet, where he served throughout the Second World war, and until 1946. Timkov participated in his first exhibition in 1929, and during the siege of Leningrad, he actively exhibited, not missing a single exhibition of works by artists and defenders of the besieged city. Also, his works were shown in the Tretyakov gallery in 1943, and at the exhibition 'Heroic defence of Leningrad' in 1944. He was admitted to the Leningrad Union of Soviet artists in 1943. Even at the time of war, Nikolai Efimovich's career was accompanied by success and recognition. In 1947 his first solo exhibition was opened, reflecting the incredible diligence, perseverance of the artist and how he was devoted to the art that despite the difficult post-war conditions was able to come to such an achievement. Timkov travelled extensively through the country: the Urals, the regions of the Volga and Don, Staraya Ladoga and was often visiting the Academicheskaya Dacha (The House of Artists in Russia). These journeys have played a significant role in shaping the style of the artist, and in his constant search for themes and motifs, inspiring and guiding Timkov in the right direction on his creative path. Later, he also visited European countries such as Italy, France, Yugoslavia, England. However, the visible, immediate effect of these trips are not so evident in the work of Timkov. The fact that, when the artist was returning from abroad, he did not bring sketches or drawings back from these journeys, tells a lot. From the end 1940s, Timkov has always been participating in Leningrad, Republican and all-Union exhibitions. His solo exhibitions were held in Moscow, Leningrad, Yaroslavl, Rostov-on-don, Nalchik, Kislovodsk, Stavropol, Krasnodar and Ordzhonikidze. The artist organised his main studio, where he painted his famous landscapes, close to the village of Valentinovka near the Vishny Volchok in the early 1960s. Nikolai Efremovich developed his individual, distinctive style by the mid-1960s. While often visiting the countryside, he continued to work in Leningrad too. In 1975, Timkov was awarded the honorary title of the Honoured artist of the Russian Federation. The last solo exhibition of Nikolai Efremovich when he was still alive happened in the halls of the St. Petersburg Union of Artists in 1993. The artist died on December 25, 1993, at the age of eighty-five years, in St. Petersburg, and is buried at the Kovalevsky cemetery. After his death, his works have become extremely popular in the United States, where exhibitions were held in San Francisco (1998, 2000, 2001), Aspen (1999), New York (1999, 2001), Scottsdale (2000), Washington (2001), Vail (2001), and Palm Beach (2000). Timkov's paintings are stored in the Russian Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Hermitage, and other significant collections in Russia. Most of his works are in private collections in various countries across the world.


Иванов, С. [n.d.] Николай Тимков и Ленинградская Пейзажная Живопись к Столетию со Дня Рождения. [online] Available at:
Swanson, V., G. (2001) Soviet Impressionism. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club.
Timkov, N. (1998) The Seasons of Timkov. Master Russian Impressionist. The Pushkin Collection. New Mexico: Albuquerque.