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Portrait of a Seated Woman, early 20th century

Boris Dmitrievich Grigoriev

Russian, 1886-1939
Oil on panel
35-3/8 x 39 in. (89.9 x 99.1 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1987.1.3.P
© 2012 Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on view

Having trained in an academic setting at the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg, Boris Grigoriev nevertheless incorporated much of the lessons of the early-twentieth-century European avant-garde. He lived in Paris from 1912 to 1913 and was extremely well traveled, living in Germany, France, the United States and South America before settling in the south of France in 1927. Throughout his travels, Grigoriev was dedicated to capturing faces, and he is best known for multiple series of paintings exploring the Russian peasantry and their fraught relationship with a newly industrialized world. This portrait, on the other hand, is one of many completed by Grigoriev reflecting the other side of that development. Here, a refined and sophisticated modernity is made apparent through the geometry of the sitter’s cut-out yellow blouse, cocktail rings and black-lacquer earrings and the flair of her leopard-print blanket. The sitter’s reclining position on her chaise, coupled with a single tulip stem, signal some traditional motifs of the genre.

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