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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
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on View

Although he trained in an academic setting at the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg, Boris Grigoriev incorporated many of the lessons of the early-twentieth-century European avant-garde into his work. He lived in Paris in 1912–13 and he was extremely well traveled, spending time in Germany, France, the United States, and South America before settling in the south of France in 1927. Throughout his sojourns, Grigoriev was dedicated to representing the people he encountered, and he is best known for a series of paintings that depict the Russian peasantry and their fraught relationship with a newly industrialized world. This portrait, on the other hand, reflects quite a different social milieu. Here, a refined and sophisticated modernity is conveyed through the crisp geometry of the sitter’s cut-out blouse, her stylish coiffure and cocktail rings, and the opulent leopard-print blanket. By posing the unidentified woman on a balcony with a single tulip stem in her lap, Grigoriev offers a nod to traditional formats and motifs in female portraiture.

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