Boris Alexandrovich Spronikov (1930-2005
Boris Alexandrovich Spornikov was born in Kiev, Ukraine, on August 3, 1930. He was eleven years old when he was inspired by a sketchbook to pursue a career as an artist. However, at that same time, he observed his motherland’s sky filled with bomb explosions from the Nazi invasion. Spornikov and his mother lived in Kiev during the Nazi occupation, where they experienced hunger, and death was a real and immediate danger. They hid in their family house but were caught and forced to leave Kiev for Germany. By some wonder they managed to escape the train taking them there.
After the war, he started classes at the Kiev Art School where he became interested in historical subjects. His first critically acclaimed painting, Defense of Kiev from the Tartars, was finished when he was sixteen. In 1952, the famed Soviet painter, Sergei Grigoriev, rewarded Spornikov with an official assignment to the prestigious Kiev Art Academy.
After graduation, Spornikov moved to Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine and became a painting teacher at the Dnepropetrovsk Art School. During this period, he produced some of his finest works such as, Heroes of Tripoli and The First Seeds of Communism, both later purchased by the Dnepropetrovsk Museum of Art.
From 1958 to 1969, he lived and painted in Omsk, Siberia. Since the 1600s, two million Ukrainian peasants had settled in Siberia. In the 19th century, the Russian government encouraged Ukrainian peasants to move there from western parts of the empire. Not as burdened by the traditional Russian communal system of agriculture as the Russian peasants, Ukrainian peasants seemed ideal candidates for resettlement, often willingly going in return for the promise of more land.
While in Siberia, Spornikov’s favorite subjects were core socialist themes – oil workers, collective farm scenes, and working peasants. Several of these portraits are in the exhibition. His painting excellence earned him membership in the Council of Artists of the Soviet Union in 1962. Spornikov returned to Kiev in 1969, but annually returned to Siberia for drawing studies, until his death in 2005.
Late in life, Spornikov served as group leader of the Ukrainian Artists’ Union. During Soviet times, he participated in more than sixty major exhibitions and after the fall of the Soviet Union, the highly respected artist participated in numerous European shows.
Spornikov is listed in Matthew Bown’s, A Dictionary of Twentieth Century Russian and Soviet Painters, 1900-1980’s.