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Painting by Pavel Shmarov in the Russian academy fine arts museum


     The show of works by Pavel Shmarov (1874-1950) in the Russian academy fine arts museum, organized by Joel Garcia Organization and the Association “French-Russian Dialogue” under the support of the Russian Academy of Arts is being held within the Year of France in Russia. For the first time on display in Russia are Pavel Shmarov’s 90 works (paintings, drawings, sketches) from the private collection of the celebrated collector Joel Garcia, as well as the artist’s personal belongings and archives.
     The exposition is a rare opportunity to get acquainted with Pavel Shmarov’s biography and to trace the influence of the culture of France on his creative work that was his second home since 1924. At the late 20th century it became possible to learn about many Russian artists who had left Russia in the 1920s. The theme of immigration has been under a ban for many years and Pavel Shmarov is one of the remarkable painters whose name is being returned to his native land today.
     Pavel Shmarov (real surname Shmyrov) was born in 1874 in Voronezh. In 1893 he went to the art school of L.G. Soloviev who focused on painting plain-air studies. In 1894 Pavel Shmarov entered the Higher Art School of the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. A pupil of Ilya Repin, Shmarov in his studio got acquainted with the future renowned artists such as Phillip Malyavin, Boris Kustodiev, Anna Ostroumova-Lebedeva and others.
     In 1899, for his diploma painting “Woe to the Vanquished” Pavel Shmarov was awarded a gold medal, the status of Artist and granted a scholarship to continue his study abroad. The artist visited Vienna, Rome, Florence, Venice and Munich where for several weeks he studied together with Victor Borisov-Musatov in the private art school of Anton Ashbe. In 1904 he traveled with Boris Kustodiev in Spain.
     The artist exhibited his works in Spring Exhibitions at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. From 1900 till 1910 he made a series of portraits of representatives of the Russian aristocratic circles, industrialists, prominent figures of science and culture, as well as portrayed Nicholas II and members of the tsar’s family. Pavel Shmarov painted big genre and battle canvases, created decorative panels, worked for newspapers and theatres, illustrated books by Nickolai Nekrasov and Alexander Pushkin, historian and archeologist Ivan Zabelin. In his monumental painting “The Battle of Borodino” are brilliantly combined rich colors, a distinctive drawing, skill in composition and the historical truth.
     In 1916 Pavel Shmarov was elected an Academician of the Russian Academy of Arts. In the same year, the publisher Alexei Suvorin commissioned him to make war sketches and the artist went to the front where he produced 30 drawings on the topic of War that were published in many editions. In 1917 Shmarov participated in the first show of paintings, drawings and sketches of Arkhip Kuindzi Foundation, and in 1919 – in the first All-Russian art exhibition.
     At the beginning of 1923 Pavel Shmarov emigrated to Rome and in the late 1924 settled in Paris. He worked mainly as a portraitist on commission. Among his works were portraits of Fedor Shalyapin and Serge Lifar, he created many landscapes with women-bathers or young peasant women dressed in Russian clothes full of the nostalgia for the native land, as well as numerous still lifes.
     The first solo show of the artist was in the Paris Gallery Charpentier in 1928 where his painting “Bathing” was bought by the Luxemburg Museum in Paris. Pavel Shmarov participated in exhibitions of Russian art in Paris, as well as in the cities of Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, Argentine and Yugoslavia. Until 1939 he displayed his works in the salons of French artists and worked for theatres. Irregular earnings sometimes made him pay for lodgings by his pictures.
     The artist’s wife Olga Vinogradova was a former costumier in the Bolshoy Theatre, for instance, she had made a costume for Fedor Shalayapin as Boris Godunov. During World War II they moved to Boulogne-Billancourt where both of them were devoted parishioners of the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas. In 1946 Pavel Shmarov took part in the exhibition “In Honor of the Victory” organized by the Union of Soviet patriots. He was very homesick, but died not having seen his homeland again. The artist was buried in Pierre Grenier cemetery in Boulogne-Billancourt.
     Pavel Shmarov has left in France a rich art legacy combining the Russian academic tradition and arte-deco. In 1955 his widow and friends organized a retrospective show of his works in Gallery Charpentier. After Olga’s death the rest of the works were obtained by various collectors.

The Exibition of paintings by P. Shmarov is accompanied by a documentary film “Pavel Shmarov” (producer Nicholas Tikhobrazoff), 2010.




















 

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