Renowned as a Russian artist of exceptional talent, Constantine Cherkas left an indelible mark on the art world, particularly through his masterful watercolor and oil landscapes featuring figures, as well as a captivating series of floral paintings. Born Constantine Cherkasheninoff in Sokol, Russia, in 1919, Cherkas exhibited prodigious artistic prowess from an early age, becoming a prolific artist by the tender age of 9.
At 14, Cherkas’s artistic journey took a fortuitous turn as he apprenticed under the great Russian Expressionist, Ila Mashkov. His talent continued to flourish, leading to a remarkable milestone in 1936 when, at the age of 17, he became the youngest artist ever accepted into the Moscow Academy for the Fine Arts at the advanced graduate level. Selected as one of 30 students out of 3,000 finalists in a rigorous Russian art competition, Cherkas’s exceptional work stood out, though his artistic pursuits were momentarily halted during World War II when he was captured by the Nazis and compelled to work in a prison labor camp.
Following the war, Cherkas resumed his artistic endeavors, gaining acceptance into the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and later in Vienna. In 1950, with the assistance of the Tolstoi Foundation, he immigrated to the United States, adopting the shortened last name “Cherkas.” A pivotal moment occurred in 1951 when Cherkas forged lasting friendships with fellow Russian painters Nicloai Fechin and Leon Gaspard, sparking a lifelong fascination with capturing the beauty of the American Southwest, particularly in Taos, New Mexico.
Constantine Cherkas’s artistic legacy endures, and his passing in 2011 marked the conclusion of a remarkable chapter in the world of art. Original paintings by Cherkas are sought after, and listings are eagerly welcomed to further celebrate his artistic contributions.