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Robert L’vovich Genin (1884-1941)

Сhronicle of life and work

1884Born on 11th August in village Vysokoye (near Klimovichi in the region of Mogilev in the Russian Empire, now Belorussia) in the family of a Jewish tradesman.






1888The boy accidentally set the family house on fire, it burnt off, the family was ruined. Robert grew up in the family of his grandfather Jakob.
1898-1900Studies at the Drawing school in Vilna. His works were among the best ones which have been sent to the Empire Academy of Arts (St-Petersburg).
1900-1902Studies at the Drawing school in Odessa. He lived in the outskirts of Odessa in poverty, earned his lean bread with photo retouching, got inspired by socialist ideas.
1902On 22. December arrived to Munich. One month long attended the School of Ažbe.
1904-1907Life in Paris. He admired works of Puvis de Chavannes. Lived in a commune (1904) together with his friends from the Drawing school of Odessa (Fraerman, Motinsky, Mirsky). Travelled by feet through France; made a voyage to Egypt (Spring 1905); settled in "La Ruche" (from Summer 1905 on), for the first time exhibited his canvases at Salon d’Automne (1907, outside the catalogue).
1907-1918Life in Munich.
1907-1909Delivered illustrations for "Jugend" magazine. Married Martha Karpow (Martha Karpow; 29.7.1882, Bialystok – 1945, Boltenhagen). Birth of their children Helga (Helga Kröger née Genin; 25.10.1907, München – 1986, Düsseldorf) and Gerhard Genin (21.12.1909, Jelgawa – 1987, Korntal).
1912Travelled to Italy, admired frescos of Giotto. Was a member of "Sema" group. Publiсation of the portfolio "Figürliche Kompositionen".
1913His first personal exhibition at the Modern Galerie Thannhauser, München took place in October; this gallery made an exclusive contract with him. Became a founding member of Neue Münchener Secession.
1914-1918Upon the begin of the First World War he was interned at Trudering near Munich as citizen of a hostile state. Nevertheless he published 1915 his portfolio "Die Frau"; 1917 delivered etchings for "Marsyas"; 1917 held his second personal exhibition at the Modern Galerie Thannhauser, München.
1918-1921Moved from Munich to Berlin (at the end of 1918). Purchased a house in Ascona (1919). Divorced from Martha (1920) and married Margarethe (Margarethe Genin née Gurth; 22.2.1887, Berlin – 8.1.1962, Berlin). Birth of the son Mario (09.04.1921, Ascona).
191930 etchings published by Paul Cassirer as well as portfolio "Aus den Spelunken Berlins" (together with Michel Fingesten).
1920Book "Skizzen und Erinnerungen" published by Fritz Gurlitt, as well as 18 etchings (portfolios "Menschen" and "Zirkus").
1920-1923Delivered illustrations for books of german authors-expressionists (Wassermann, Bethge, Edschmid).
1926Travelled to Bali (February-July).
1927Divorced from Margarethe.
1928Book «Die ferne Insel» published in Berlin (ca. 200,000 copies). Personal exhibition at the Museum of Applied Art, Cologne.
1929Moved to Paris together with his partner, Genia Ines.
1931Personal exhibition at Galerie Jacques Bonjean, Paris (November-Dezember) which became positive press (articles by André Warnod, André Salmon, Paul Fierens).
1932Personal exhibition at Kunstzalen A. Vecht in Amsterdam (October).
1936Personal exhibition at Lilienfend Galleries in New York (March-April).
1936Moved to Moscow in the 1st decade of March. On 7th June held a lecture at MOSSKh about fresco technique. Publication of a note in "Pravda" (31st July) regarding return of Genin to Russia and ordering him a fresco for one of the pavilions at the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSKhV).
1936-1938Lived in a flat of an acquaintance, who went on a business trip for two years. Worked on the VSKhV fresco. Im March 1937 was admitted to MOSSKh (Monumental art section).
1938Repressions, which took place in autumn 1937 im the Ministry for Agriculture ("Narkomsem"), proceeded to the management of VSKhV. The order of 17.10.1938 change the complete concept of VSKhV and the destination of pavilions. The pavilion "Sovkhozes" was renamed into "Grain". umbesAlexander Romm published an article in newspaper "Soviet Art" (4.12.1938) aiming to save the Genin's fresco.
1939The Genin's fresco was covered-up by lime. The acquaintance, who let him live in his flat, came back; Genin lost his accomodation.
1939-1941Worked at the Art department of Palace of Soviets Building Direction on frescos for the internal room of the Palace. Published two articles thereto: "Wall-painting and its technique" and "On preparation of murals for the Palace of Soviets". He lived with Marc Nalevo in the room of the latter in a communal flat, then in a dormitory of Palace of Soviets Building Direction.
1941Committed suicide on 16. August, a few days after he was contused by a bomb as he was keeping roof watch during one of the strongest air raids of German bombers.