Samokhvalov was a member of the Leningrad School of Painting. In 1914 enrolled in the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Pertsburg and, amongst others, one of his teachers was Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin. In 1917 he took part in the exhibition of the Mir Iskusstva. He had significant success with his images heroes of labour and sport. In 1967 he was awarded the Order of Lenin.