Serge Poliakoff was born in Moscow in 1990, he was an informal painter and naturalized French throughout his life. He studied at the Académie Frochot and the Grande Chaumiere and in 1931 he showed for the first time at the Galerie Drouant in Paris.
In 1935, he left France and attended courses at the Slade School of Art in London. He became interested in Italian primitives and in the paintings of Egyptian sarcophagi that he saw exhibited at the British Museum. He also played the guitar in some movies where he played the part of a musician.
In 1937 he met Vassily Kandinsky in Paris and in 1938 he showed his first abstract painting at the Galerie Niveau in Paris. In the same year, the artist also met Sonia and Robert Delaunay, he attended their theoretical courses being affected by them. From 1939 he participated in the Salon des Indipendentes, until 1945.
In 1946, he had two exhibitions in the Salle du Centre des Recherches, rue Cijas, the chosen venue of the avant-garde of abstract painting.
Fellows of exhibitions were Cesar Domela, Hans Hartung, Auguste Herbin and Gerard Schneider at the Galerie Denise René in Paris. He regularly showed at the Salon de Maie and participated in the Salon des Surindépandants.
Despite his presence in the art scene for living, he played the guitar and he designed for fabrics.
In 1947 he received the Kandinsky Prize. In the following years he continued his painting activities in Paris and Scandinavia, a solo exhibition at the Galerie Tokanten in Copenhagen and the purchase of one of his paintings by the Musée des Beaux Arts de Grenoble.
In 1952 he got the first contact with the Galerie Bing, when happened the turning point and Serge Poliakoff was able to devote himself entirely to his paintings. In the same year, he held his first solo exhibition in New York, at the Circle and Square Gallery.In 1956 he won the Premio Lissone, after several important exhibitions. In 1957 he realized the scenography for the ballet ‘Contré-point’, with music by Marius Constant and choreography by Roland Petit.Between 1958 and 1962 he showed in Switzerland, then in Germany, England and Pittsburgh. Among others, he took part in Documenta II, the III International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting, the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, and ’50 ans d’Art Moderne’, held in Brussels. In December 1960, he was among the thirty-five artists invited to show at the large group show ‘Ecole de Paris’, organized by Galleria Lorenzelli in Milan.In 1962 he was invited to show with a solo room at the XXXI Venice Biennale, in 1965 he received the International Prize of the Tokyo Biennale and in 1966 the Grand Prix of the Menton Biennale. He died in Paris on 12 October 1969.