A Boris Grigoriev retrospective opens at the Fabergé Museum – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

The previous exhibition of this master took place more than ten years ago, in the Russian Museum and in the Tretyakov Gallery.

Recently there was an exhibition at KGallery “St. Petersburg – Paris. Yuri Annenkov. Miron Sherling. Boris Grigoriev”. By the way, the St. Petersburg KGallery, as well as the Moscow gallery “Our Artists”, contributed to making Grigoriev’s new exhibition diverse, full of unexpected discoveries and themes.

A retrospective of Boris Grigoriev in the new exhibition space of the Shuvalov Palace demonstrates that “the world’s first master”, as he himself certified without excessive modesty, remains one of the most relevant authors. Of course, the exhibition features masterpieces from the Russian Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin Museum. AS Pushkin. But the main success is the works of Boris Grigoriev from private collections and the cultural and historical foundation “Link of Times”, which have not been shown before. In particular, this is the canvas “The Inspector General”, a series of illustrations for the novel “The Brothers Karamazov”. For Grigoriev, these works were extremely important, he considered them a continuation of the cycle “Faces of Russia” and “Race”.

But looking at his work “Visiting Baba Yaga” (1911), it becomes obvious that not only Gogol and Dostoevsky inspired him, but also elements of Russian folklore and children’s books. Unlike Alexander Benois and other artists of the “Art World”, Grigoriev is well aware not of the elegant theatrical side of children’s fairy tales, but of their terrible mythological basis. A brilliant draftsman and painter, he seems to continue the traditions of the romantic narrator Hoffmann (by the way, he was highly valued by the masters of the art world), linking the 19th century with the 20th. And just when it seems that Grigoriev is our answer to the German Expressionists, the wonderful young “Breton Fisherwoman with Child” (1923) suddenly sends greetings to the Virgins of the Italian Renaissance. But then “The German Butcher” (1938) appears, and in the portrait of him he puts his hand on his chest, as if he were swearing allegiance to the Führer. It is painted in a fleshy, powerful, almost sculptural way, according to the laws of the “new materiality”.

Boris Grigoriev left Russia in 1919; His name was not mentioned in his native land for many years. Experiencing a break with Russia, he tried to find the answer to the “Sphinx” riddle that Blok wrote about. No wonder he returned again and again to the “faces of Russia”, which “looks at you and looks at you with hate and love.” This, of course, did not stop him from painting wonderful landscapes and portraits during his two trips to South America. These works can also be seen at the exhibition at Fontanka, 21.

The exhibition, which will last until January 28, promises to be one of the highlights of the new exhibition season.

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September 22, 2023 9:54 pm