Russian Artworks Painting 20th Century Avant-Garde Analytical Art Portrait of Armand Azibert and Son

Portrait of Armand Azibert and Son

Artist: Pavel Filonov
Date: 1915
Media: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 115 x 83 cm
Ownership: Russian Museum, St Petersburg
Property of the artist’s sister, Yevdokia Glebova, Leningrad (until 1977)
Portrait of Armand Azibert and Son


In the mid-1910s and beyond, Pavel Filonov created several works in parallel to, yet cardinally different from, his Chant of the World Flowering cycle of avant-garde pictures. This image demonstrates his masterly command of academic painting.

The portrait was allegedly painted from a photograph, possibly after the Filonov family received the news that Armand Azibert – the husband of the artist’s sister Ekaterina – had gone missing in action during the Battle of the Marne in 1914.

Armand Azibert was the son of François Azibert, a Frenchman who opened a canned meat factory in St Petersburg in 1862. The factory supplied the Russian army and was located at 42 Old Peterhof Prospekt, where Filonov later lived.

Armand inherited the factory and volunteered to fight in the First World War. Although the portrait was created after the subject’s death, the man’s figure is still painted in an extremely vivid manner. Armand is depicted with his son René.

The portrait betrays Pavel Filonov’s great talent for draughtsmanship. The artist’s ability to combine an almost illusory objectivity with genuine painterly flair ranks him alongside such nineteenth-century masters as Konstantin Makovsky.

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