After failing his entry exam at the Kazan School of Fine Arts, Serge Charchoune (Buguruslan, Russia, 1889 – Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, France, 1975) was sent to several academies in Moscow by his father. In 1910 he discovered the Impressionists at the Tretiakov Gallery, which strengthened his ambition to become an artist. In 1912 he deserted the army and took refuge in Paris. He enrolled at the La Palette academy, which was frequented by the Cubists and where he met his partner, the sculptor Helena Grünhof. During World War I the couple moved to Barcelona. In 1917 Charchoune came into contact with the Dadá movement through Francis Picabia. He attended the scandalous Dadá Festival at Sala Gaveau and from that point on he took part in all of the group’s activities.
Although he intended to join the Russian Revolution, he was dissuaded by Isadora Duncan. While Helena Grünhof went to Russia, Charchoune returned to Paris. There he produced a number of illustrations for magazines and lived his Dadaism in solitude. After the isolation and disenchantment of the 1930s, Charchoune recovered in the following decade, maintaining a studio and selling a few canvases. Water and music were his sources of inspiration. In 1971 the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris organized his first retrospective.