Boris Aleksandrovich Chetkov was born in 1926 in the city of Novaya Lyalya in the Sverdlovsk Region of Russia. After an early idyllic childhood on his grandparents' farm, surrounded by the folk art and culture of prosperous Kulak society, he went on to survive in succession several of the most horrific experiences of the twentieth century; forced collectivization under Stalin, exile to a penal labor camp after conviction as an "Enemy of the People", conscription to a penal battalion on the front lines of WWII. After the war and determined to make his way as an artist, Chetkov battled un-diagnosed illness, poverty and a succession of menial jobs until at a relatively advanced age he graduated from Vera Mukhina School of Applied Art and Design in 1966 and began his professional career as a senior artist at the Malaya Vishera Glass Plant. There he immersed himself in his work and created many new progressive designs that were put into production for everyday use.
Remarkably, Chetkov survived these experiences as a young man and emerged unscathed with a bright and positive outlook on life, determined to make his way. Painting for himself, at night and without a supply of materials, he created without an agenda or market during a time when such creativity could be seen at best as pointless and at worst as subversive. He belonged to the avant-garde art movement of St. Petersburg, simultaneously working with different materials such as wood, stone, metal, ceramics, porcelain and glass. His work was both experimental and “cutting edge”. Even though it was the Soviet period views regarding the types of styles allowed by the authorities had liberalized to some degree. Chetkov's work was considered so extraordinary that he was invited to become a member of the Leningrad branch of the Russian Federation Union of Artists despite being an avant-garde artist.
Chetkov actively participated in a variety of Russian, as well as international exhibitions. The uniqueness of his talent was best presented at his personal exhibitions of 1973, the prestigious Hermitage Museum in 1979, 1980, 1989, the Manege Museum, St. Petersburg in 1991, and Finland in 1991. His work received critical acclaim at the World Exhibitions in Osaka and Sapporo, Japan in 1974-1975; at shows in France in 1978 and 1995; Austria and Germany in 1978 and the United States in 1978 and 1992. He also showed his paintings in Australia in 1989 and Venice, Italy in 1994.
Boris Chetkov’s paintings have been acquired by the Russian State Museum of St. Petersburg, by many art museums and galleries throughout Russia, and by various galleries outside of Russia including the Denver Art Museum in the United States. His paintings and sculpture remain in private collections in Russia, Italy, France, Austria, Germany, Finland, Australia and the United States
Boris Chetkov participated in exhibitions around the world; from Tokyo, to Europe and Russia during his lifetime. Recent exhibitions include:
2001: Forum Gallery St. Petersburg
2002: The Union of Artists 70th Anniversary Exhibition, Manege, St. Petersburg
2003: Artists of the City Annual Exhibition, Manege, St Petersburg
2005: Solo Exhibition, Kwang Hwa Cultural Center, Hong Kong
2009: National Congress Palace at Konstantinovsky
2010: (Presidential Residence). The last exhibition in Chetkov’s lifetime and the First solo exhibit presented at the Palace
2012: Boris Chetkov , Solo exhibition, Howell Gallery, Oklahoma City
2013: Re-Imagining Russia: Boris Chetkov Landscape & Genre Paintings, Retrospective exhibition, Russian Art Week, London