Boris Chaliapin: Mr. Time
Boris Chaliapin was born third of the six children of the opera singer Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin and his wife Ilona Chaliapin-Tornagi. He started his artistic career quite early in his youth, leaving his native Moscow for St. Petersburg, where he studied in the art studio of V. I. Shukhayev – despite the raging Civil war. Later, in the early 20s, he would move back to Moscow, to study painting under Kardovsky and Zakharova, and then - to study sculpture under Konenkov.
In 1923 he made his first foray into the Paris art scene, full of "white" Russian emigres and art connoisseurs.
The experience in the creative environment had a profound effect on Chaliapin, and so, two years later, he returned to Paris, where his father had bought him a studio at the Montmartre.
He continued studying at F. Kolarossi and collaborated with other well-known artists, K. Korovin and D. Stepanov.
His works would often be exhibited at the theaters where his father sang. including an exhibition at London's Covent-Garden in 1927, where he presented ethnically-themed paintings and even some family portraits, delighting the visitors.
Chaliapin also exhibited at many well known French salons, including d’Alignan (1931), La Renaissance (1932), and Yteb (1935)...
But the breakout of the World War II and the Nazi occupation of France basically destroyed the local art scene, so in 1940 Chaliapin ran to America, settling in New York. Here, he changed the direction of his artistic career, becoming an illustrator for the Time magazine.
During the almost three decades he worked for the publication, he created hundreds of illustrations, including some of the iconic covers of the Time, became a celebrity in certain circles and even earned the nickname "Mr. Time".
Boris Chaliapin died in his New York home at the age 75.
National Portrait Gallery