Iurii Pavlovich Annenkov was a painter and graphic artist, designer for the theatre and cinema and master of book design. Born Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka, Annenkov entered the University of St. Petersburg in 1908, at the same time attending lessons in the studio of Savelii Zeidenberg, then in 1909-10 the studio of Ivan Tsionglinskii, before studying in Paris under Denis and Valloton.
On his return to Russia Annenkov became an active member of the artistic life in Petrograd with a distinct leaning towards the theatre. The early years of the Revolution, despite practical difficulties, proved very productive for many artists, the atmosphere stimulating creativity, which Annenkov often remembered.
At this time he concentrated on painting and graphics, especially book illustration and contributions to satirical journals, and in the decoration of towns for revolutionary mass festivals, participating in the Petrograd 1st May celebrations in 1918, and in Moscow for the 7th November anniversary. He also participated as artist and designer in other mass demonstrations in Petrograd including 'The Mystery of Free Labour' at the Bourse, and 'The Taking of the Winter Palace' in Uritskii (formerly Palace) Square on 7th November 1921.
As early as 1913 he was involved in the theatre collaborating with Nikolai Evreinov, Nikolai Kul'bin and Ivan Puni, as well as other artists such as Mstislav Dobuzhinskii and Vladimir Shchuko.
Annenkov was particularly noted as a portraitist, depicting V.I.Lenin, L.Trotskii, A.V.Lunacharskii, V.A.Antonov-Ovsenko and G.Sinov'ev in politics, M.Gorkii, Vs.E.Meierhol'd, A.Akhmatova, B.Pasternak and A.Benois among a host of other artist and writers.
The above portrait can be compared to the one of Aleksandr Nikolaevich Tikhonov, sold at Christie's London 5 October 1989, lot 424. Annenkov uses the same technique mixing oil, collage and enduit giving an idea of three dimensions to his work.