Architect and painter of the 1920s avant-garde period; perhaps unfairly linked to the Constructivists since his approach was heavily independent of a specific style.
He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1904, where he would remain for 12 years through General Education, Arts, and Architecture. He was mentored in architecture by Professor Ivan Zholtovsky.
He quit architecture after only 10 years in the field, becoming a portrait painter and teacher because he was steadfastly opposed to Stalinist architecture.
He was the fourth child born to road maintenance foreman Stepan Illarionovich Melnikov. He married Anna Yablovkova in 1912 and had two children.
He and British artist Thomas Gainsborough both became famous portrait painters.