Viktor Grigoryevich Puzyrkov

Viktor Grigoryevich Puzyrkov

1918 —1999
  • Stalin prize of the third degree (1948; 1950)
  • State prize of the USSR named after Taras Shevchenko (1976)
  • Honoured artist of the USSR (1951)
  • People's artist of UkrSSR (1963)
  • People's artist of the USSR (1979)

Viktor Grigorievich Puzyrkov is a bright figure in the Soviet and Ukrainian art. Predominantly he painted pictures on the naval theme. Undoubtedly Puzyrkov can be called a leading Ukrainian socialist realist of the late 1940s. The classic of Ukrainian art, the artist-soldier, he has profoundly influenced the next generation of Ukrainian artists. Viktor Puzyrkov has painted numerous paintings with a specific ideological message or a subject-matter which is concerned with the Soviet reality. The artist subtly and thoroughly combined his vigorous temperament of the historical painter of battle scenes with a fascinating poetic talent of a sentimental marine painter. In a later period of his career, he turned to the genre of landscape and created vivid still lifes that reflect impressionistic trends. Viktor Grigorievich was born on October 4, 1918, in Dnepropetrovsk (originally Ekaterinoslavl), Ukraine. Even as a child, he had particular feelings for the sea. Puzyrkov was thirteen years old when he went to the Crimea with his father and first encountered the endless blue vastness of the sea. The boy was so impressed by this spectacular view that he began to make his first sketches on paper, trying to capture his emotions. This connection with the sea has determined the direction in the work of the future artist for many years – marine views have become the most essential component of the artistic legacy of Victor Grigorievich. 

Viktor’s parents supported his passion for drawing as they could, however, the path to an artistic career was not initially easy and cloudless. Eighteen-year-old Viktor Puzyrkov entered the local Dnepropetrovsk Art School, where he studied for two years. In 1936, he entered the Kiev State Art Institute, where his teachers were the famous Alexei Shovkunenko, Konstantin Yeleva, Fedor Krichevsky, and Sergei Gerasimov. However, world war II unceremoniously and suddenly invaded the lives of millions of people, and Puzyrkov was no exception. From the first days of military operations Viktor Grigorievich was mobilised to the front; having interrupted the education, he joined a cavalry division. The artist-soldier was severely wounded at Kanev. After discharge from the hospital in 1942, he left for Samarkand, where the Kiev Art Institute had already been evacuated. Front-line drawings, personal impressions and experiences have become a solid basis for the creation of many paintings. In 1946, Viktor Puzyrkov graduated from the Kiev Art Institute in the studio of academician Alexei Shovkunenko. He began to take part in exhibitions in 1947. Puzyrkov exhibited his work at national, all-Union and international art exhibitions. The year of 1948 was a quite eventful and productive year Viktor Grigorievich: he became a laureate of the State Prize and was admitted to the Union of Artists of the USSR. He was also a member of the Union of artists of Ukraine. In the same year, he began teaching at his alma mater, where his pedagogical career would last until his death. Among the pupils of Viktor Puzyrkov was eminent Ukrainian artist Victor Trubchaninov. Another State Prize of the USSR the artist won in 1950. In 1954, Puzyrkov joined the Communist party of the Soviet Union. In 1957 he received the title of Professor of the Kiev Art Institute and became the head of art studios there. 

Honour and glory have firmly settled in the artist’s life: in 1963 he was awarded the title of People's artist of Ukraine, and in 1979 – People's artist of the USSR. In 1976, Puzyrkov was awarded the Shevchenko prize for the painting " Soldiers "(1972) and" In the Dugout" (1975). Besides, he was given the Order of the Red Banner, the Order of Glory of the 3rd degree, and various medals for participation in the Great Patriotic War. The artist lived most of his life in Kiev and died in his apartment in his beloved city on October 30, 1999. He was buried in the Baykov cemetery. Among his most successful and famous works are "Unconquered" (1946), "Chernomorets" (1947), "Survived" (1963), "Surf", "They Fought for Their Homeland" (1977), "Silence", "After the Storm" triptych "Lesya Ukrainka" (1979), "At the Native Threshold" (1980), "Ahead of the World" (1984), "Solar Surf" (1988). Today Victor Puzyrkov's works are presented in the collections of the National Art Museum of Ukraine, the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), the Dnepropetrovsk Art Museum, the National Museum of Ukrainian Art named after Andrei Sheptytsky (Lviv), the National Museum of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 (Kiev), the Art Gallery of Ivan Aivazovsky (Feodosiya) and in many other galleries and private collections both at the artist’s homeland and abroad.


Журнал Огонек (1950) Издательство Правда. No 30. с. 18.
Фогель, З. (1959) В. Г. Пузырьков, Москва: Советский художник.
Шалимова, М. (1988) Виктор Григорьевич Пузырьков: Живопись: Каталог выставки. Киев: СХ УССР.