Peter Alexander Ilyin (1887 – 1950)

Peter Alexander Ilyin, Farhat Art Museum Collection.

The painting of young woman is oil on canvas measures 65×45 inches it was painted in the Art Deco style of the 1920’s period. The artwork is part of the Farhat Art Museum.

Peter Ilyin was born in Kazan, Russia in 1887. Best known for his portrait painting, he showed early promise as an artist when he started sketching his natural surroundings. His parents supplied him with crayons and paper that fueled his interest in art throughout high school. He attended high school with his younger brother Gleb Ilyin, also an artist, and took private lessons in art outside of school. Peter studied under Professor Pashovsky and by age eighteen was one of the best artists in Kazan. In 1905 he received several mural commissions in his hometown. His career in art was interrupted by a Russian tradition that the eldest son within an aristocratic family attend the Imperial Government Military Academy. The academy was close to his home and Ilyin continued what art studies he had time for on the side. He graduated in 1909 and returned to his pursuit of art. Between 1914 and 1916 he was assigned to the cavalry and was sent off to battle on the Austrian front. In 1918 Peter, his wife Nadine, and his brother Gleb all departed for Japan during the Russian Revolution. Peter and Nadine left Japan in 1922 with the money they had generated from portrait sales. Peter Ilyin and his wife settled in San Francisco where he opened a studio on Clay Street. His specialty was portrait painting and San Francisco provided an ideal atmosphere for him to prosper as an artist. He exhibited at the Bohemian Club, the Oakland Art Gallery, the City of Paris (S.F.), and the Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento. Ilyin died in 1950 in a hospital in San Francisco.

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