PAVEL MANSOUROFF was born in St. Petersburg (Russia) 1896. He died in Nice (France) in 1983.
Mansouroff completed his studies at the School of the Society for the progress of the Arts in Petrograd in 1915. In the same year, serving in the air force, he designed propellers and hangars, thus beginning his study of forms conditioned by a precise mechanical function. In 1917 he greeted the revolution with enthusiasm, collaborated with Lunacharsky in the organization "Promotion of Art for the Progress of the People," and became acquainted with Tatlin, Malevich, Rviatiuscin, Filonov, Kandinsky, Majakowsky, etc. With them he became an official representative of the new Russian art. From 1922 to 1928 he directed the experimental section of the Institute for Artistic Culture of the INCHUK group, with Tatlin and Malevich, and subsequently he directed the experimental section of the Museum of Art and Culture in Moscow. The work of the section was oriented towards that so-called "return to nature," not to be confused with verismo, the object being to ascertain all the essential elements of the visible. Thus Mansouroff, who had by now passed through cubo-futurism and suprematism, rejected the rigid geometry of the straight line, the square, the cube, in favor of natural forms, such as curves, that were equally original but more flexible and open to modulation,. In his writings of this period he reveals a vaguely pantheistic conception of nature. According to Mansouroff, it is from this bio-cosmological principle that the formal laws determining the evolution of forms, especially architectural forms, derive. Most of his work in this period consisted of assemblies of materials forming different types of textures: fragments of wood and bark, leaves, roots, and other elements still free from the effects of human techniques and mechanics. Towards 1925 he produced constructions based on a single element considered in different spatial situations. He called them "pictorial formulas." In 1929, faced with opposition from Soviet artists in favor of socialist realism, INCHUK was dissolved. In 1928 Mansouroff traveled to Rome, where he frequented the house of Olga Signorelli, and exhibited at Anton Giulio Bragaglia's gallery. In the following year he moved to Paris where, for a year, he lived and worked in the house of Sonia and Robert Delaunay. Subsequently, for several years, he worked as a restorer and as a designer of fabrics for the world of high fashion, collaborating with Patou, Lanvin, Schiapparelli, Chanel, Bianchini-Ferier, Sulka and Colcombe, while at the same time painting still lives and "pictorial formulas." In 1940 he modified his technique of "pictorial tension," transferring it from oil paint to tempera and pastel. New aspect of light-color-vibration relationship emerged. From 1957 onwards his work appeared in numerous international exhibitions; in 1972 he was given an personal exhibition at the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. In Italy the critic Carlo Belloli showed interest in his work and he was given several exhibitions at the Lorenzelli gallery. In 1983 his work was included in the historical section of the "L'ultima avanguardia" exhibition at the Palazzo Reale in Milan. Mansouroff spent his last years at Nice, living in almost complete isolation and refusing any business or social relationship with the outer world, in order to concentrate on his work.