Serge Petrovitch Ivanoff was born in Moscow in 1893, and showed artistic ability from a young age. On the family’s move to St. Petersburg, he took the opportunity to further his artistic studies by enrolling at the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1917, at the height of the Russian Revolution. The turmoil of the aftermath of these events prompted Serge Ivanoff, with his wife and two young children, to move permanently to Paris in 1922.
A talented portraitist, he quickly established himself in Paris and soon had the celebrities of the day commissioning him to paint their portraits, including Pope Pius XI, the dancer and choreographer Serge Lifar, poet Paul Valery, composer Arthur Honegger, and many notable Russian exiles now making their home in Paris. Between 1930 - 1950, he also regularly provided illustrations for the French journal L’Illustration, and painted a series of luminous and lyrical nudes.
In 1950 Serge Ivanoff moved to the U.S.A., again specialising in portraiture, including Eleanor Roosevelt and the diplomat Jefferson Caffery amongst his subjects. However by the 1960’s he had returned to Paris where he continued to exhibit regularly at the Salon des Indépendants, receiving a Gold Medal from the Minister of Cultural Affairs, André Malraux, in 1966.
Serge Ivanoff died in Paris in 1983.