Constantin Pavlovitch Kousnetzoff was primarily a landscape painter. Although he executed some Russian-themed works, the majority of his paintings depict the coasts of Brittany and views of the Seine in Paris. Kousnetzoff worked in an impressionistic mode, painting in plein air with loose, painterly brushstrokes to explore the effect of light and atmosphere, and capturing the glistening surface of water.
Kousnetzoff grew up in the village of Zhelnino on the river Oka, where his father owned a shipping company. He was self-taught and was influenced by the work of Russian landscape painters Isaak Levitan and Ivan Shishkin. From 1897 to 1899, Kousnetzoff studied in Paris in the studio of Fernand Cormon and became interested in painting landscapes in plein air. He settled in Paris, first living in Montmartre and later Montparnasse, but continued to exhibit in Moscow and St Petersburg at the Moscow Partnership of Artists exhibitions from 1903 to 1910, officially joining the group in 1905. From 1905 onwards, Kousnetzoff actively exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants, Salon d’automne, and Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and participated in exhibitions in Belgium and Britain. In the 1920s, he created book illustrations, including designs for Aleksandr Pushkin’s Rusalka and the Tale of Tsar Saltan, as well as Nikolai Gogol’s Viy (which were published in 1930 by René Kieffer in Paris). Kousnetzoff’s retrospective exhibition was held at the Salon d’automne of 1937. His work is represented in collections in France, Russia, and Holland, including Vue de Paris, Trocadéro (bought from the artist in 1924) in the Musée d’Orsay.
Zamoshkin, A.: ‘Konstantin Kuznetsov vo Frantsii’, in Khudozhnik, vol 3, 1968.
Marchand, André/Puget, Catherine/Vivier-Branthomme, Monique: Constantin Kousnetzoff, 1863–1936, exhibition catalogue, Musée de Pont-Aven, Pont-Aven, 1987.
Vivier-Branthomme, Monique: Constantin Kousnetzoff (1863–1936): un peintre russe en France, Les Presses Bretonnes, Saint-Brieuc, 1992.