Boris Dmitrievich Grigoriev (July 23, 1886, Moscow - February 7, 1939, Cagnes-sur-Mer, France) - Russian and French avant-garde artist, “historian of the Slavic soul”, painter, graphic artist, writer.
Features of the artist Boris Grigoriev: the name of Boris Grigoriev in his homeland was forgotten for many years, he was practically not remembered, he was counted among the “white immigrants”. But before leaving abroad in 1919, he was extremely favored by the press and the attention of his contemporaries. His drawings were appreciated (art critic Nikolai Punin called them “a paradox on the plane”), and the exhibitions had the widest resonance. The sharp color, rhythmic structure, emotionality and intuition were inherent in each work of the artist. Grigoriev was one of the most expensive and prestigious portrait painters of Russia of the 1910s. and retained this title, already working abroad. Grigoriev's album “Race”, released in 1918, at the height of the revolutionary whirlwind that swept the whole country, became an attempt to understand the Russian people as a natural phenomenon.
The amazing story of the artist's family Boris Grigoriev’s mother, nee Klara Iohannovna Lindenberg, came from a Swedish family. Her father, Johann von Lindenberg, was a sea captain, and later served as a Russian consul in San Francisco, where Clara was educated in an Anglo-American boarding house. In 1866, Lindenberg, by then Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, died suddenly; on the way to Europe, his family - his wife, two daughters and two sons - fell into a shipwreck and miraculously escaped, losing almost all the property. In Lausanne, Clara continued her education at a French guest house, and later graduated from the University of Lausanne. After the death of the mother, the brothers and sisters moved to their father's homeland, Riga, and Clara Lindenberg got a job as a governess in a rich Petersburg family. Here she was met by Dmitry Grigoriev. It was love at first sight: twice older, burdened with family and children, Dmitry insisted on his and got a divorce to marry the incomparable Clara.
In his memoirs, Boris Grigoriev wrote: “My father gave my mother enough money to maintain the house and family, and this was his only part. Otherwise, each of them lived a separate life. This explains the strangely careless, disorderly home environment in which I grew up. ” The son of an artisan, Dmitry Grigoriev, began his career as a bank messenger, received a higher commercial education and in mature years reached an enviable position, taking the post of manager of the Rybinsk branch of the Volga-Kama commercial bank.
Childhood on the Volga shores The family moved to Rybinsk when Boris was 6 years old, and settled on the second floor of the mansion, which stood on the Volga embankment. The children had a huge library, boat, horses, dovecotes ... The family had their own box at the Opera Theater, the Grigorievs regularly went to Moscow and St. Petersburg for performances. Each of them received an elementary musical education and was able to play one or even several instruments. Life in the house raged, guests visited daily; half of the brothers regularly staged performances.
In 1899, it was Boris’s turn to continue his studies in the family line: like his two brothers, he entered the Moscow Practical Academy of Commercial Sciences. But in 1902, his vocation — painting — displaces everything else from his life that Grigoriev leaves his studies and holds the “most difficult exam” at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Klara Iogannovna, having learned about this act of her son, is categorically opposed to teaching her Borenka with "long-haired, man-like artists."
The decisive step and the tragedy of youth Boris does not give up, and a year later he petitions to the Stroganov School of Industrial Art. No more commerce: only art! He studied successfully, Grigoriev, spent his summer at home in Rybinsk, drawing landscapes and scenes of the Volga life. He was also fascinated by versification - the works of the young man were taken by metropolitan magazines.
In 1906, during a vacation with his family in Sudak, Boris Grigoriev experienced a great emotional tragedy: his girlfriend, Katya Tarnavskaya, committed suicide. The bullet that pierced the girl’s heart was long worn by Grigoriev on a watch chain, inserting this terrible memorable object in a gold frame. After the funeral, the young artist immediately went to St. Petersburg and plunged into work.
Diligent student To the professor Dmitry Anfimovich Scherbinovskyincredibly lucky with a student: Grigoriev literally “absorbed” the experience that the teacher gave him, a favorite studentIlya Repin and Pavla Chistyakova. "Adored Anfimovich" taught his students free possession of nature. “The line flows like a melody,” said Shcheribnovsky; a wonderful teacher, he knew how to convey the art of owning a line to his students, and in the classroom in his full-scale class was always very crowded.
Not without the participation of his teacher, Boris Grigoriev in 1907 was awarded for his academic success in a foreign trip. Among the students who went to study in Munich, there was a student graduate of the Stroganov School Elizaveta von Brache. In the same year of 1907, Boris and Elizabeth got married.
Continuing his studies, Boris Grigoriev became a volunteer at the Higher School of Art at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, where his professor wasAlexander Kiselev - a famous landscape painter, a member of the Association of the "Wanderers." The next five years of training were time for Grigoriev creative experiments. In 1909 he joined the Studio of the Impressionists association, which he headed Nikolai Kulbin, was friends with Velimir Khlebnikov and David Burliuk, as well as many artists from the "World of Art" and "Blue Rose". In 1910, Grigoriev took part in the design of an 11-volume ethnographic collection devoted to the life and life of the Russian people, which was prepared and published by merchant Alexander Burtsev, a bibliophile and collector.
Since 1909, the artist often traveled to European countries. Works bought and bought willingly. However, the artist himself repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction in his letters to friends: “... My soul is like a dressed-up young man, but I want modesty, to be wise and inconspicuous, in a gray little dress, like our wise old men ...” he described the aspirations in the novel Young Rays, which was published in 1912 under the pseudonym Boris Gris.
From Petersburg to Paris In 1913, Boris Grigoriev was expelled from the St. Petersburg Academy: too innovative approach caused outrage professors-traditionalists. But members of the society "World of Art" recognized in the artist "their" and invited the exhibitor to the next exhibition. The love of theatricality and slapstick brings Grigoriev into the studio of Vsevolod Meyerhold and gives the audience a few paintings saturated with grotesque and buffoonery. In 1916, the artist wrote the famous"Double" portrait of Meyerhold - clown and demiurge, red and black, two sides of nature of a great director and actor.
The life and work in Paris, which Grigoriev combined with his studies in the Nude Studios Grand Shomer (1913), was reflected in his drawings, which he created everywhere - in a cafe, on the street, in class. The sharp color, rhythmic structure, emotionality and intuition were inherent in each work of the artist, and the passion for graphicsToulouse-Lautrec andMatisse added expressiveness. As his pupil, the artist Olga Bernatskaya, later wrote about Grigoriev, he knew how “to pin down an image with one line and wrest it from non-existence”. His studies resulted in the graphic cycle "Intimacy", which Grigoriev published as a separate album in 1918.
"Raseya" - the licky longing of the ancient land A little later comes another of his program album - "Race" (1918), which includes drawings and 9 paintings. As usual, the illustrations in Grigoriev’s albums were accompanied by texts, and in Rasee, in addition to Grigoriev’s own texts, materials written by Pushkin historian Pavel Schegolev and the artist were published. Nikolai Radlov. Alexey Tolstoy wrote about Grigoriev's “Race” cycle: “You carry this lyrical Russia in you, that's why you care about his canvases, through them you look deep into yourself. Where at the bottom, still living, deaf, is this lyrical melancholy, this wrinkle of the ancient land. ” The coming whirlwinds of the revolution affected the artist's family: in 1916 his wife Elena, or, as her friends called her, Ella, was arrested in connection with the “case” of General Sukhomlinov. In the winter of 1917, she was sent to Tula, along with her 1.5-year-old son, Cyril. Boris Grigoriev achieved the liberation of his wife.
“In the days of the revolution, when people stopped watching themselves, when they began to open up to one hundred hundredths, shamelessly exposing all human, even bestial, I tried to see a whole people, find its sources ... look into this distance racial, like an open door ... It was scary, but the hatred made me still portray ... Whoever did not see the revolution, he did not see the people, ”wrote Boris Grigoriev in the essay“ On art and its legitimate crimes ”.
From Petersburg to Moscow and on ... everywhere! In 1919, Grigoriev lived in Moscow with his family: here he worked on sets and costumes for the production of The Snow Maiden for the Moscow Art Theater, and also taught in his native Stroganov School. I had to move after a big scandal: in Petrograd, in the Department of Fine Arts of the People's Commissariat of Education, Grigoriev had the imprudence to speak out against the monopolization of art by the state. The artist was accused of counter-revolutionary views, he almost got into the Red Army. His delegation was saved by students of the Higher Art School, where he was invited to the post of professor. As Grigoriev himself wrote, “the situation deteriorated to such an extent that the crime was everywhere: in views, in the surrogate of colors, in the surrounding chaos, in worn-out clothes, in the behavior of the watchmen,” and only those who wrote “disgustingly disgusting” posters had earnings. Despite the tremendous success of the students, Grigoriev decided to leave the country.
In the autumn of 1919, the Grigorievs came to Petrograd, from where they secretly moved to Finland by boat, and by the end of 1920 they settled in Paris. In the same year, the personal exhibition of the artist is held in Berlin, a year later - another one, in Paris. France, Italy, USA, South America - the geography of exhibitions with the participation of Boris Grigoriev in these years is very wide. He is called the "historian of the Slavic soul." From 1921 to 1926 two more cycles of paintings were born - Breton and Norman, the results of Grigoriev’s summer travels in the northern French outback - the land of “Druids, soothsayers and judges, healers who studied the movement of the planets and who owned the art of writing.”
"Faces of Russia" and the fulfillment of a dream Russian theme in the works of Grigoriev continued another series of paintings - "Faces of Russia". The artist also performs a number of portraits of famous Russian actors of the Moscow Art Theater in stage costumes - the theater toured Europe and America in 1922-23, wrote a portrait of Sergei Yesenin (location unknown). A year later, in 1924, another cycle of works was born - “Bui-Bui”. This time the scene is the south of France: the port taverns, drunken stupor, the "eerie charm" of vice and hopelessness.
In 1926, Boris Grigoriev’s long-time dream came true - he received consent to write a portrait of Maxim Gorky and went to Italy, to the Villa Pozillipo. January and February Gorky posed for Grigoriev for 2-3 hours a day; the sessions were accompanied by interesting intercourse, the artist wrote: “... He knows so much, he feels so deeply, he understands so subtly ... My love for him approaches hysteria.” Gorky's entertaining gesture, depicted against the faces of the heroes of his books, is interpreted differently - from the gesture of the puppeteer, surrounded by his puppets, to the mysterious Masonic mark.
Homesickness and a trip to Chile Despite the efforts of Grigoriev, attempts to return to Russia with the help of Gorky did not lead to anything. Well, no, no. Pictures were sold, and with the money, the Grigoriev family bought a plot in the town of Cagnes-sur-Mer. Villa "Borisella" (Boris and Ella) absorbed all financial income, and in the summer of 1928 Grigoriev accepted an invitation from the government of Chile, who offered the artist a professorship in the Academy of Arts. The contract for three years was concluded, the family sat on the steamer and went to an uncharted country. Upon arrival, Boris Dmitrievich arranged a real revolution at the Academy: he forbade copying, dispersed the models and sent the rector to the market to buy vegetables and fish for still lifes. Grigoriev gave only 37 lessons - the revolution in the country broke off previous agreements, forcing the artist to work hard and exhibit. The success, fortunately, was, works were bought by museums and collectors. In the spring of 1930, Paris saw an amazing exhibition of bright, colorful works created by Grigoriev after traveling through South America and Africa.
Experiencing a great creative enthusiasm, Boris Grigoriev conceived and realized his long-time intention - a huge canvas, on which he presented the whole world in his characteristic images. By bringing together a series of drawings and portraits, he created a large composition "Faces of the World" five meters long, performed on seven folding doors. In 1930, the picture was shown at the Autumn Salon in Paris, and, despite its modest success, it was later acquired by the Prague National Gallery. In the autumn of the same year, Grigoriev wrote another portrait, about which he dreamed, more precisely, two portraits: composer Sergey Rakhmaninov posed for him.
Burn to deadline ... The financial situation of the Grigorievs was very shaken - the construction of the house was very expensive. The artist thrashed, squeezed in debt, begged his friend and agent in America, David Burliuk, to sell at least a few works, “at least a portrait of Gorky,” he later traveled to the US himself more than once, but he could not adapt to the local structure. In 1936, Boris Grigoriev again made a trip to Latin American countries: Brazil, Chile, Peru in his paintings - fantastic and childishly light, even naive. The American public took these paintings very coldly, bringing great disappointment to the artist.
The spirit and health were undermined: at the end of October 1938, Boris Grigoriev was taken to the hospital, where he had an operation. The best doctors, the best clinic in Nice ... Alas, the terrible disease progressed. The artist did not become February 8, 1939. On the last journey of Boris Grigoriev, only seven people saw off. On the anniversary of the death of a friendAlexander Benois He wrote: "He felt that this simple life is the true or only atmosphere in which the artist lives freely, is now poisoned through and through, and every breath of such air is a deadly paralyzing poison." Before the beginning of World War II, just over six months remained ...
For many years, the name of Boris Grigoriev was not remembered at home. And only in 1989, in the wake of Perestroika, with the support of the then Chairman of the Soviet Cultural Foundation Dmitry Likhachev, the first personal insertion of the artist was prepared, which took place in Pskov.