Denisov, Nikolai Viktorovich
Born April 4, 1917, Petrograd (St. Petersburg), Russian Empire; died 1982, Moscow, USSR
The son of the renowned Soviet poster artist Viktor Deni, Nikolai Denisov became a successful artist in his own right. He began his design career prior to World War II and he often worked in collaboration with his wife, Nina Vatolina, who happened to be one of his father’s favorite students. Denisov and Vatolina graduated from the Moscow Art Institute (class of 1942) and had married during the time they were students. Many of Vatolina’s early posters are co-signed by Nikolai Denisov as the two worked together consistently until Denisov was drafted into the Army during World War II. For his service, Denisov was awarded the medal For Battle Merit and the medal For Victory Over Germany. Vatolina divorced him in 1945.
After the war, he continued to work as a poster artist collaborating on designs with Anatolii Gorpenko and with Vladislav Pravdin-Rykhlov. As an aside, the careers of Denisov and Vladislav Pravdin-Rykhlov ran in tandem. Both attended the same art schools and after graduating the same year, they both were assigned to the Military Artists Studio during the war and continued to work at the Studio after the war. The duo collaborated on poster designs from the 1940s until the mid-1950s.
From the 1950s until the ‘70s, Denisov worked in Mitrofan Grekov’s art studio. Grekov was the founder of the Soviet “battle genre”. While in Grekov’s studio, Denisov painted landscapes and created paintings with Naval themes. In 1977, he was awarded the "M. B. Grekov Silver Medal" for his artistic series on the Soviet Navy. Denisov was made a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR in 1942. He was bestowed the title of Honored Artist of the RSFSR in 1976.
Sources & Citations
Russian Posters. (2015). Auction catalogue of Mercer and Middlesex, LLC. New Jersey: Mercer and Middlesex, LLC.
painters.artunion.ru (birth date)
artpanorama.su (death date)
Baburina, N. I. (1988). The Soviet Political Poster, 1917-1980. New York: Penguin. (bio, artist)