Cartoonist, graphic artist, painter, poster artist, illustrator
Nikolay Denisovsky was born to family of the painter and graphic artist Fedor Denisovsky. He studied at the Stroganov School of Industrial Art (1911–1917) under the guidance of S. Noakovsky and D. Shcherbinovsky. Denisovsky also studied at Moscow State Free Art Studios (1918–1919), at the scene-design studio of G. Yakulov. In 1917 under the guidance of G. Yakulov, Denisovsky participated in design of the café Pittoresque in the Kuznetsky Most in Moscow.
During study at the School Denisovsky worked as a scene-designer at the Chamber Opera Theatre, at the S. Zimin’s Free Opera (since 1914). In 1920–1921 he designed the performances in the studio of N. Forreger and at the Demonstrative Theatre in Moscow.
Denisovsky collaborated with G. Yakulov till 1928. In 1918–1928 he together with other students of G. Yakulov worked on scene and costume designs to the performances Oedipus the King (award of the Theatre department of Narcompros — National commissariat of education), Red Cock, Princess Brambilla, Zhirofle-Zhiroflya, Cola di Rienzo for the Demonstrative Theatre and the Chamber Opera Theatre in Moscow.
In 1918 Denisovsky participated in festal decoration of Moscow to the celebration of the First May holiday.
After graduating from the Higher State Artistic and Technical Workshops (VKhUTEMAS), Denisovsky worked as a secretary of the art education department of the National commissariat of education (Narcompros) under D. Shterenberg. At that time Denisovsky met V. Meyerhold, V. Mayakovsky, V. Brusov, L. Popova, A Rodchenko, and V. Stepanova. In 1922–1924 he was sent as a secretary of the First Russian art exhibition into a mission to Berlin and Amsterdam by the order of the Narcompros.
Denisovsky was a chairman and one of the organizers of the Society of Young Artists (OBMOKhU). In 1919–1922 he participated in all exhibitions of the Society. Denisovsky together with other members of the Society created stencils for the Windows of ROSTA (Russian Telegraph Agency) by V. Mayakovsky, worked on the agitation trains design, drew posters.
Denisovsky was one of the founding members of the Society of Easel Artists (OST, 1925–1932), an active participant of the exhibitions of OST. In 1929 he left the Society of Easel Artists.
In 1920s Denisovsky collaborated with Moscow and Leningrad satirical magazines Krasny Perez (“Red Pepper”), Smekhach(“Laugher”), Krokodil (“Crocodile”), Buzoter (“Troublemaker”), Begemot (“Hippopotamus”), Prozhektor (“Searchlight”) and many others.
In 1925 Denisovsky painted a series of paintings Petty bourgeois at the resort.
In 1928 Denisovsky painted the picture The first meeting of the Soviet of the People’s Commissars to the art exhibition dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the October revolution in Moscow.
In late 1920s — early 1930s Denisovsky made trips to the mines of Donbass (1929), to the factories of Kerch (1930), to the goldfields of the Far East (1930), to the military units of the Red Army (1931) in order to gather material for creative work. Later he drew some graphic cycles (In Donbass, At the Kerch metallurgical factory, 1929) and books-albums (Comrade Artem, 1930; Gold, 1931; Coal, cast iron, steel, 1932).
In early 1930s Denisovsky painted a series of paintings Miners, Steam hammer, Cast iron etc.
Denisovsky drew illustrations to the books of the State Publishing House (Gosizdat): The Goosestep by U. Sinclair (1924), The 9th of January by M. Gorky (1930), Stars in the forest by A. Barto (1934) and others. Denisovsky worked a lot on the illustrations to the poems by V. Mayakovsky. Denisovsky became good friends with Mayakovsky until the death of the poet. It was Denisovsky who designed the apartment of V. Mayakovsky in 1930 for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the poet’s creative activity.
Denisovsky participated in the exhibitions: the 7th Exhibition of the group L’Araignée (“Spider”, 1925, Paris), the exhibition Russian Drawing for 10 years of the October Revolution (1927, Moscow), the Exhibition of acquisitions of state commission of acquisition of works of fine art for 1927–1928 (1928, Moscow), the 4th exhibition of the paintings of modern Russian painters (1928, Feodosia), the modern book art at the International exhibition of press (1928, Cologne), exhibition of the German painters (1928, Berlin), the exhibition Graphics and book art in the USSR (1929, Amsterdam), the exhibition of the Russian graphic art (1929, Riga), the Artistic and handcraft exhibition of the USSR (1929, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit), the Exhibition of acquisitions of state commission of acquisition of works of fine art for 1928–1929 (1930, Moscow), the exhibition of the works on revolutionary and Soviet themes (1930, Moscow), the exhibition Socialist Construction in Soviet art (1930, Moscow), the exhibition The modern Russian art (1930, Vienna), the exhibition of the Soviet art (1930, Berlin), the First exhibition of fine arts in the USSR (1930, Stockholm, Oslo, Berlin), the Exhibition of the works of artists sent on a mission to the regions of industrial building and collective farms (1931, Moscow; 1932, Leningrad), the Anti-imperialistic Exhibition dedicated to the International Red Day (1931, Moscow), the international exhibition Book Art (1931, Paris; 1932, Lyon), the exhibition of the Soviet graphic art, book, poster, photography and industrial art (1931, 1932–1933, Johannesburg), the jubilee exhibition Artists of the RSFSR for 15 years (1932, Leningrad), the exhibition of the Soviet art (1932, Königsberg), the Health care exhibition (1932, Los Angeles), the art exhibition 15 years of the Red Army (1935, Kharkov), the art exhibition The Industry of Socialism (1939, Moscow), the exhibition of graphic art on the themes of the history of the All-Union Communist Party Bolsheviks, VKPb (1940, Moscow), the exhibition of the best works of art of the Soviet painters (1941, Moscow), the All-union art exhibitions (1947, 1950, Moscow), the art exhibition dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Great October socialistic revolution (1957–1958, Moscow) and others.
Since late 1910s Denisovsky was engaged in poster art. In 1929–1930 he together with V. Mayakovsky created a series of drawings to the posters of the People’s commissariat of health care (Narkomzdrav). In 1931 Denisovsky was one of the organizers and leaders of the Windows of TASS (the Telegraph agency of the Soviet Union) in Moscow. Since 1956 he became a member of the art society Agitplakat (“Agitation poster”).
Denisovsky worked as a painter in the publishing house Izogiz (“Fine arts”) in 1931–1935 and at the All-Russian co-operative society Vsekokhudozhnik (“Artist”) in Moscow in 1931–1935 and in 1947–1949. In 1930s he designed performances at the Maly Theatre. In 1934 Denisovsky headed the group of the artists, engaged in the project of the design of the residential districts, industrial and transport buildings by the order of Kramatorsk machine building plant. In 1930s–1940s he was engaged in easel painting; he painted portraits and thematic pictures.
In 1928–1930 Denisovsky taught at the Higher Art Technical Institute (VKhUTEIN) in Leningrad; in 1935–1938 — at the Institute of the advances trainings under Moscow Art Institute named after V. I. Surikov; in 1949–1952 — at Moscow Institute of Applied and Decorative Arts (MIPiDI); in 1952–1954 — at Leningrad Higher Art and Industrial College named after V. Mukhina (LVKhPU).
In 1962 Denisovsky was conferred the title of the Honored artist of RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic).
The personal exhibitions of Nikolay Denisovsky were held in 1956 and in 1961 in Moscow.