Igor Grabar

Born: 1871, Budapest
Died: 1960, Moscow

Painter, graphic artist, architect, teacher, art historian, writer, restorer. Born in Budapest (1871) to ethnic Rusyn politicians Emmanuil Hrabar (1830–1910) and Olga Dobryansky (1843–1930). Forced to flee with his family to Russia (1880), where he changed his surname to Hrabrov (late 1880s) and Grabar (early 1890s). Attended high school in Yegorievsk in Ryazan Province (1880–82) and Mikhail Katkov’s boarding school in Moscow (1882–89). Studied law, history and philology at St Petersburg University (1889–93) and painting in the studio of Pavel Chistyakov (1892–94) and under Ilya Repin at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1894–96). Visited Berlin, Paris, Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples (1895). Disappointed with the conservative teaching methods at the Academy, decided to drop out and travelled to Munich in the company of Dmitry Kardovsky, Alexei von Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin (1896). Studied painting at Anton Ažbè’s school (1896–98) and architecture at the Königlich Bayerische Technische Hochschule München (1898–1901). Appointed an equal partner and worked as a teacher in Anton Ažbè’s school (1899–1901). Returned to Russia (1901) and travelled across Arkhangelsk and Vologda Provinces, studying Old Russian architecture (1902). Painted winter landscapes, passing through periods of interest in Impressionism (1901–03), Pointillism (1903–05) and Post-Impressionism (1905–07). Member of the World of Art (1901, 1910), Union of Russian Artists (1903) and Society of Moscow Artists (1927), life member of the Salon d’Automne (1906), founding member of the Moscow Art Society (1923). Abandoned painting in favour of writing (1908) and designed the Grigory Zakharin Memorial Hospital in Kurkino near Moscow (1909). Edited the History of Russian Art published by Joseph Knebel (1909–15), writing the entries on architecture and monographs on Isaac Levitan (1913) and Valentin Serov (1914). Academician of painting (1913). Trustee (1913–18) and director (1918–25) of the Tretyakov Gallery, where he redesigned the permanent exhibition (1913) and published the first comprehensive catalogue (1917). Headed the Museum Fund (1918) and organised expeditions to study and restore Old Russian icons and frescoes (1919–20). Founded and headed the Central Art and Restoration Workshops in Moscow (1918–30) and taught restoration at Moscow University (1920–46). Returned to painting (1930), working in a Socialist Realist style (1930–50). Published his Autobiography (1937) and co-authored Russian Architecture of the First Half of the Eighteenth Century (1954). Taught at the Moscow Institute of Fine Arts (1937–43), founded and headed the Scientific Research Institute of the History of the Arts of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1944–60). Honoured Artist of the RSFSR (1928), People’s Artist of the USSR (1956), winner of the State Prize (1941). Full member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1943) and the Academy of Arts of the USSR (1947). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1898). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Moscow Society of Lovers of the Arts (1898–99), World of Art (1902–06, 1912–22), Union of Russian Artists (1903–09), Sergei Makovsky Salon (1909), Moscow Painters (1925), Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne in Paris (1937), international exhibitions in Düsseldorf (1904), Venice (1907, 1924), Rome (1911) and Malmö (1914), exhibitions of Russian art in Paris (1906), Berlin (1906, 1922), New York (1924–25) and New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Detroit (1929), joint exhibition with Pyotr Pokarzhevsky, Alexander Osmyorkin, Georgy Ryazhsky and Grigory Shegal at the Union of Artists Organising Committee in Moscow (1940), one-man shows in Moscow (1936, 1939) and retrospectives in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Krakow and Warsaw (1971–72) and Moscow (2001).

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