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German Dontsov

German Dontsov

German Dontsov (1916, Saratov, Russian Empire – 2001, Riga, Republic of Latvia) – a painter.

German Dontsov was born in a family of workers of a weavers factory. In 1934 he graduated from a secondary school and enrolled into the Astrakhan Art Academy, which he finished in 1939 with the qualification of a teacher of art. In the same year he received membership in the "Astrakhan Artist" fellowship and became a candidate of the Union of Artists of USSR, also participated in exhibitions.  

In the August of 1939 Dontsov became a 2nd year student of Harkov Institute of Arts, however, he could not start his studies due to the conscription into the Red Army in the October of the same year. Dontsov participated in the Second World War in the ranks of the 35th Guard Tank Brigade (in the August of 1944 he was awarded with the Order of the Red Star "for the outstanding fulfillment of battle tasks of the command during the war against the Fascist invaders"), and also in the war against Japan. He was dismissedin the November of 1945. 

In the January of 1946 German Dontsov became a 3rd year student of the department of drawing of the Latvian State Academy of Arts. Among his teachers were Kārlis Miesnieks (drawing), Konrāds Ubans (painting, composition), Uga Skulme (drawing), Leo Svemps (painting). "Preliminary preparation at the Art School, which he underwent before his enrollment into the Academy, allowed him to become a good drawer. In his works he tries to reveal the psychology of the depicted persons. As a participant of the Great Patriotic War he is especially  attracted to the military theme", - stated his characteristics, which was signed by the head of the workshop of easel painting, professor Jānis Liepiņš on the 4th of March 1949. His final work "Enemy in Sight" was also dedicated to the military theme and was successfully defended in 1949. 

After graduating from LSAA Dontsov worked as a teacher at the 7th Art Vocational School. He was one of the most active members of the group "Artists of Latvia - Participants of the Great Patriotic War", and was taking part in its exhibitions.  

In 1960 German Dontsov was accepted as a member of the Union of Artists of Latvian SSR.

His personal exhibitions took place in Riga (1967) and Jūrmala (1973). His works were exhibited on many republican, all-union and abroad exhibitions - in Chile (1965), USA (1966), Great Britain (1967), France (1968), Germany (1972), Japan (1970, 1973), Finland (1972), Switzerland (1973). 

At the starting period of his career, Dontsov mostly drew industrial landscapes with the elements of figurative composition, where human figures obtain their own meanings. However, still-life had gradually substituted all other genres in his art, while the role of a human figure or figures was deminished to the staffage. The works of his final period were marked with the sonority of colour and expression. 

German Dontsov died in Riga on the 9th of February 2001.

Alexander Malnach

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