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Boris Mikhailovich Lavrenko (May 6, 1920 – June 7, 2001) was a Russian Soviet realist painter, a recipient of the People's Artist of the Russian Federation, and a professor at Ilya Repin Leningrad Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Lavrenko lived and worked in Saint Petersburg (former Leningrad); he is regarded as one of the major representatives of the Leningrad School of Painting.

Boris Lavrenko was born on May 6, 1920 in the city of Rostov on Don, Soviet Russia. From 1936 to 1940 he studied at Rostov in the Don Art School. In 1956 he graduated from Ilya Repin Leningrad Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture where he studied with professor Rudolf Frentz, as well as other renowned painters: Mikhail Avilov, Ivan Stepashkin, Peter Belousov. Lavrenko created genre specific historic paintings, landscapes, still lives, life sketches and portraits. He became known as the leading portraitist of his time.

Boris Lavrenko was a veteran of World War II. After he was drafted to the Red Army in fall 1940, he served as an artilleryman until the end of the war, and traveled all the way from Moscow to Berlin. His front-line drawings, sketches, and portraits show the cruel truth of war and play an important role as documentation.

Lavrenko’s painting style is distinguished by energetic brushstrokes, skillful transfer of tonal relations, palpable texture, and definitions of forms and volumes. By examining his works completed through the 1970–1980s, one can see growing decorative qualities of his paintings and drawings.

Since 1953, Boris Lavrenko was a member of the Leningrad Union of Artists (renamed to St.Petersburg Union of Artists in 1992). Boris Lavrenko’s works were exhibited in Moscow, Leningrad, and Rostov in Don, to great acclaim. In 1972, 1986 and 1996 he had major solo exhibitions in Leningrad and Moscow.

Over the duration of 40 years, Boris Lavrenko combined his creative activities with his pedagogical work. From 1954, he taught at Ilya Repin Leningrad Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he served as a Doctor of art-criticism (1983), professor of painting, a head of personal workshop and graphical department.

In 1976, Boris Lavrenko was awarded the honorary title of Honored Artist of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. In 1994, he was awarded the honorary title of People's Artist of the Russian Federation.

Boris Mikhailovich Lavrenko died on June 7, 2001 in Saint Petersburg, at the age of eighty. His paintings remain in many private collections throughout Russia, England, Germany, France, Italy, and the U.S. Lavrenko is also in the collections of major art institutions, including the State Russian Museum, State Tretyakov Gallery and many others.

Research Sources: Art Panorama Gallery, Wikipedia (Russian)