Born in a merchant family, while still a child, Nikolai Tarkhov (1871-1930) always wanted to realize his dream, learn to draw. N. Tarkhov received his primary education at the Nabilkovsky Commercial School – one of the best secondary schools in Moscow, where in addition to general subjects taught typographic art, various crafts and accounting. In 1894 N. Tarkhov decided to enter the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. But for a number of many reasons I did not pass the exams. However, despite this, he continued to paint, his incredible desire to become a painter and his willingness to use every chance presented by fate brought him to meet K. Korovin. N. Tarkhov was allowed to visit his workshop near Zemlyanoy Val, in the house of Artsybushev, where the future artist learned to write the model. In 1898, Nikolai Tarkhov, together with his friend Nikolai Milioti, briefly went to Paris. Returning to Russia, after only a year he again left for Paris. The artist never returned home. To support N. Tarkhov away from his homeland, friends helped sell his now-known work, “Goats in the Sun” (1904), to the Tretyakov Gallery.
The peculiarity of the master’s works is that he writes as an outside observer, not as an artist who thinks over the composition for a long time and carefully, but as an inspired singer who is in a hurry to sing this particular song, right at that moment. The artist really wrote quickly, trying to capture every minute state. In his works, he retains the impressionistic immediacy of perception, while the framework of the pictorial solution of this style was close to him. “Next to the ringing chords of N. Tarkhov, his sonorous yellowness, his frank delight from blue, red and green colors, not only Volkov and Clover will seem completely bad … Why would someone not listen to me, try not to throw me out of their rooms all the rubbish that hangs and grimaces on their walls … instead of hanging the jubilant paintings of Tarkhov? “- A. Benoit so enthusiastically said about the artist’s work.
The painting “Still Life with Cats and Flowers” reveals a peculiar creative secret to the viewer. In this unusually sincere and direct work, the artist was able to reunite the multi-color palette, the complexity of the gamut and the decorativeness of the letter. In this picture, the master’s brush leaves large sweeping strokes, thereby confirming the main task – fixing a rapidly changing moment. The color scheme is also noteworthy: warm bright and colorful tones of chrysanthemums standing in a flowerpot are juxtaposed with a finely painted cold background. The painting is also characterized by innovative compositional construction – the absence of space and depth – all this is akin to the “photographic storyboard” of nature. The viewer’s gaze sees an image-frame, grabs a specific moment from the variety of life surrounding it. The texture of the painting itself is extremely important for the artist; it acquires a certain density, becoming more pasty. In addition to provincial French subjects or urban Parisian landscapes, various animals became he frequent objects of his painting – hens, roosters, dogs, rabbits, sheep, pigs and his favorite goats and cats. Cats are one of the artist’s favorite “home” plots. The main features of Tarkhov’s work have always remained the intimacy of the plot, the spontaneity, sincerity and joy of the stopped moments of life.