Alexander Drevin
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  Alexander Drevin was born in Venden, Livonian gubernia (now Latvia), in 1889. The famous Academy landscape artist Vilhelms Purvitis taught Drevin (Drevins) to draw and paint. When the First World War broke out, Purvitis not only himself moved from Riga to Petrograd, but also took along some of his students (Rudolf-Alexander included). From 1912 Drevin contributed his works to exhibitions. At a 1915 exhibition in Petersburg Lettish artists for the first time made their public appearance as a united national group. However, Drevin was to win genuine recognition at exhibitions staged along the lines of Russian artistic quests of the early 20th century. The Commissariat for Lettish National Affairs, founded soon after the 1917 revolution, enlisted ‘comrade Drevin’ to organise an art section. His cooperation with D. Shterenberg in establishing the Museum of Modern Art in Moscow and involvement in exhibitions together with K. Malevich, I. Kliun, N. Udaltsova and A. Rodchenko put Drevin into the context of Russian art life. He participated in exhibitions, held professorship at VKhUTEMAS and travelled across the Urals, Armenia and the Altai. Mountainscapes, compositions with wild goats and gazelles, riders and bathers brought from those trips formed the world of his paintings, executed in free brushwork and devoid of any time-serving element. The fact that he belonged to Latvian culture was to play an unfortunate role in the future: in 1938 Drevin was charged with counterrevolutionary activity and perished in NKVD torture-chambers. Some of his works disappeared during his arrest; yet many pieces survived under the guise of works by his wife, Nadezhda Udaltsova, the famous ‘Amason of the avant-garde’. Drevin’s paintings and graphic works can be found at the State Tretiakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, and many other museums and private collections inside and outside Russia.