Viktor Iosifovich Reikhet

Viktor Iosifovich Reikhet

1922 —2000
Viktor Reykhet is an acknowledged and accomplished Soviet artist of the second half of the XX century, a painter, whose works are very national, a member of the St. Petersburg Union of artists (until 1992 it was called the Leningrad organization of the Union of artists of the RSFSR), one of the representatives of the Leningrad school of painting, a teacher and Professor of the Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after I. E. Repin. Most of his life Reykhet lived and worked in Leningrad. He was an artist who found his creative path only in the post-war years: The World War II was the central theme for Viktor Iosifovich, who participated in many battles and went through the whole war. The most prolific and prominent period of the artist's career was time between the 1960s and 1980s when Reykhet was at his full artistic strength and created a series of works dedicated to this dramatic, deep, national theme. For Viktor Reykhet, such paintings as "Unconquered" (1958), "To the partisans" (1963), "Farewell" (1967), "Soldiers" (1981) are those key works in his oeuvre that had brought fame and well-deserved recognition to him. The artist was born on August 18, 1922, in the village of Marinovo, Odessa region, into a family of teachers. Being the son of a German nobleman, Viktor spoke German at home since childhood, which created a certain slight aura of tension and alienation from Soviet Russia in his life. It was not very dramatic, but it still has affected his life in some way.

In 1938-1949, Viktor Iosifovich studied at the Physics and Mathematics faculty of the Odessa State University. Reikhet has worked for a while as a teacher of mathematics at school, but the discovery of his true calling was still to come. In 1940, the young man was sent to the Volsk Military Aviation and Technical School, and then he was destined to go through the whole war. After demobilisation in 1945, Viktor Iosifovich entered the Odessa art school. Four years later, Reykhet was admitted to the Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after Repin at the Faculty of Painting in the studio to V. M. Oreshnikov, where he studied until 1955. V. A. Serov and K. A. Korovin have become his icons in art, ideals to which he always aspired. After defending his diploma work, "At the well", the artist has been incredibly successful. He graduated with honours from the Institute, he was accepted to graduate school at the Department of Painting and Composition and began to exhibit his work at the all-Union, national and regional exhibitions. Only starting his artistic career, Viktor Iosifovich has managed to create his greatest and most significant works. At that time, Reykhet painted a lot of works on historical and revolutionary topics, scenes of folk people's lives, ordinary peasants, heroic deeds and everyday life of wartime. In 1957, Viktor Iosifovich began teaching at the Department of Painting and Composition of the Repin Institute in the same studio that he had studied, the studio of V. M. Oreshnikov. The artist stayed at the graduate school until 1958. For many years he taught students in the studio together with a prominent Soviet painter and art historian, B. S. Ugarov. In 1975, Reykhet was appointed Professor of the Department of Painting and Composition.

Viktor Iosifovich enjoyed creating sketches (etudes, studies): first of all, because of plunging into this happy, intimate for the artist process of communication with nature. He travelled a lot not only in Russia but also visited France, Italy, Germany and Hungary. Reykhet brought his impressions in the form of sketches from his trips. He usually stayed longer in Germany and visited it quite often. He has received high recognition there as a gifted portrait painter and landscape artist. Reykhet has been attracted to classicism and eternal values of painting, so he used to paint Nude regularly. The artist's portraits resemble rapidly painted, quick sketches, but still have this feeling of completeness, fullness. He often portrayed his wife, Larisa Sergeevna Orekhova, whose portraits occupy a particular niche in the Reikhet oeuvre. He also created a number of landscapes: such as "Winter", a sketch for the painting "On the field", "The Pier on Olkhon", "Before the storm on the Angara River", which are highly aesthetic and distinctive works, revealing the beauty invisible to the ordinary vision. Reykhet died on February 9, 2000, at the age of seventy-seven, in St. Petersburg. His works can be seen in the State Russian Museum, the Research Museum of the Russian Academy of Arts, the Museum of the History of St. Petersburg.


Герман, М. Виктор Рейхет: "Другая Жизнь" [online] Советская живопись. Available at:
Иванов С. (2007) Неизвестный соцреализм. Ленинградская школа. Санкт-Петербург: НП-Принт.
Artchive. ru [online] Виктор Иосифович Рейхет. Available at: