Maxim Kantor was born in Moscow on 22 December 1957, he’s a painter, writer, essayiste and Art historian of an openly philosophical turn.
His father, Karl Kantor, who was born in Argentina, was a philosopher, an art historian, and a design theorist who founded the Moscow magazine “Decorative Arts”. His grandfather self-exiled to Argentina in 1909 and returned to Soviet Russia with his family in 1926. His mother Tatiana was a geneticist who created some hybrids that were internationally licensed.
In 1980 Maxim Kantor graduated from the Moscow State University of Printing Art. After 1982 he took part in unofficial exhibitions. In 1983 he founded in Moscow the underground art group “Krasnyj Dom” (Red House). In 1984 he was organizer and speaker of a renowned one-day show of the group in Moscow Institute of Philosophy.
In 2016 he became a German citizen.
Maxim Kantor lives and works on Ile de Ré (France), Berlin and Oxford.
Kantor is a member of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts.
As a painter Maxim Kantor “didn’t want to study under anybody and his father (the philosopher Karl Kantor) was all he needed”, but he was deeply influenced by Michelangelo, Mantegna, Goya, Breughel, Van Gogh, Grunewald and Petrov Vodkin. Maxim Kantor never joined any artistic group, but rather kept to his own independent message. His personal style was never influenced by fashions or current streams. In Soviet times he became a watchful observer of society and a sharp political critic. Kantor holds the same line up to now both in his country and in the West. For years, he has been developing the themes which moved him. Almost always those themes reflected socio-political situation in his Motherland or in the world. He created series of large paintings and graphic works which always dovetailed with his fiction works and public statements and essays.
In 1997 he represented the Russian Federation on 47 Biennale d’Arte di Venezia in the Russian pavilion with the personal Exhibition Criminal Chronicle.
He held exhibitions in many different countries and in a great number of important museums around the world, among which Moscow State Tretyakov Gallery, Saint-Petersburg State Russian Museum, Hannover Sprengel Museum, Frankfurt Staedel Museum, British Museum, Luxembourg National Museum. Some works by Kantor are in the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Paris Saint Merry Church and the Brussels cathedral.
Maxim Kantor has created three more monumental portfolio of etchings and prints with the following titles Metropolis. Atlas (2000-2001), Metropolis. Atlas (2004) and Vulcanus. Atlas (2010).
Maxim Kantor produced “livres d’artiste”: in 2013 Henrich von Kleist. Die “Hermannsschlaht” and in 2014 “The Ballades of Robin Hood”, in 2018 “Faust” and “Hazard” with text and illustrations by Kantor himself.