Boris Grigoriev trained in art academies in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Paris before finding inspiration in Russian cabarets on the eve of the October Revolution. He immigrated permanently to France in 1921 and continued producing his psychological portraits of Russian showgirls, artists, monks, and peasants. In Old Trombola Grigoriev heightens his sitter’s emotional state by emphasizing his intense gaze and exaggerating the sculptural qualities of his weathered hands and face. Grigoriev later wrote, “I have been watching and studying the Russian people for many years ... and these paintings are the fruits of my observations.”
Oil on canvas
29 x 23 1/2 in. (73.7 x 59.7cm)
Frame: 34 5/8 x 28 7/8 in. (87.9 x 73.3 cm) (show scale)
Signed and dated lower right: "Boris Grigoriev/1924"
Gift of Mrs. W. Murray Crane, Morton E. Goldsmith, Boris Grigoriev, and The New Gallery
This item is not on view
Boris Grigoriev (Russian, 1886-1939). Old Trombola, 1924. Oil on canvas, 29 x 23 1/2 in. (73.7 x 59.7cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. W. Murray Crane, Morton E. Goldsmith, Boris Grigoriev, and The New Gallery, 25.90 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 25.90_PS2.jpg)
overall, after cleaning, 25.90_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
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What is this style of art called?
It's an early twentieth-century version of Realism.
In the 1920s, some artists continued to work in the abstract avant-garde styles that emerged in Europe at the turn of the 20th century. (See the completely non-objective painting by Kandinsky nearby.) But in the wake of World War I, many artists returned to a more realist style in which objects and people were shown more naturalistically. This post-war trend is sometimes called "the return to order" and it took on different configurations in different places. The Russian artist Boris Grigoriev traveled and lived in many countries after the war. His work is often associated with the German brand of post-WWI realism known as the New Objectivity movement and its key exponent, Otto Dix.