Born in Moscow, Russia, in 1968, Serge Poliakoff was the 13th child of 14. An artist of the Russian diaspora that followed the Bolshevik Revolution, Poliakoff made for Paris and London in the 1920s and 1930s, where he became one of Europe's foremost Post-War Abstractionists.

Serge Poliakoff and Marie Helen Poliakoff Maeght foundationImage: Alexis Poliakoff Serge Poliakoff and Marie Helen Poliakoff Maeght foundation
Image: Alexis Poliakoff

He is considered one of the most powerful painters of his generation. The artist inspired the works of French artist Arman.  Alongside Jean Dubuffet, Hans Hartung, and Nicolas de Staël, Poliakoff is regarded as a member of the ''new'' École de Paris (School of Paris) following World War II.

Serge Poliakof, Shapes, lithograph signed in the plate, printed by Mourlot 1972, 90 x 65 cm. Serge Poliakof, Shapes, lithograph signed in the plate, printed by Mourlot 1972, 90 x 65 cm.

As a child, Poliakoff regularly attended church. The rich colours and the powers of religious icons he would see in Russian churches would continue to fascinate him and be the backbone of his oeuvre. At the age of 14, Poliakoff attended drawing lessons, however these were quickly interrupted at the breakout of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Serge Poliakoff and his granddaughter Marie-Victoire PoliakoffImage: Alexis Poliakoff Serge Poliakoff and his granddaughter Marie-Victoire Poliakoff
Image: Alexis Poliakoff

During his life in the West, Poliakoff's work would continue to be inspired by his religious upbringing in Russia, often employing the cruciform as a structuring device in his works.

The artist once said of painting, ''the picture should bespeak the love of God, even if you don't believe in God … if you want to get the big music in.''

Poliakoff settled in Paris in 1923 and picked up his art studies again in 1929. In 1937, after some time in London, he returned to Paris where he would attended the Thursday open salons held at Robert and Sonia Delaunay's studio. It was here that he met Vasily Kandinsky who he would go on to have a great friendship with.

It was during these salons at the Delaunay's studios that Poliakoff was inspired by the works of Giotto, Simone Martini, Paul Gauguin, and Otto Freundlich.

In 1983, the artist exhibited his first abstract painting in 1938 at his premiere Salon des Indépendants.

In 1947, Poliakoff received the Kandinsky Prize, which brings Russian art to a greater audience.

''I'll be staking my money on Poliakoff in the future of painting.'' - Vasily Kandinsky.

His work went on to be celebrated around the world, The Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, held his first major retrospective in 1963 and his work was included in the 1965 Tokyo Biennial where it received the International Award.

The signed lithograph featured by Serge Poliakoff, entitled Shapes will be part of Lots Road's auction on 10th December, 2017. Check out the full catalogue here.

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