Since Camille Pissarro and his Avenue de l‘Opera and Boulevard Montmartre in various seasons, the early moving towards the impressionism, since Claude Monet’s Boulevard des Capucines full of golden light and impressionist fame, numerous sketches of everyday Montmartre life depicted by Utrillo in early 20th century, there weren’t significant French artists inspired by their great city.
The glory passed to photographers like Atget, Brassai, Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau who pioneered photojournalism , reportage de la vie, documentary, mainly interested in Parisians and their daily moments. But it was later, in 40-60s when Paris became a glorious backdrop then.
Between the wars Paris was so to speak seemingly unattended by painters. Here comes BUT….
One of the last impressionists was the prominent Russian artist Konstantin Korovin (1861 (Moscow) -1939 (Paris)). He fell in love with Paris on his first trip in 1885, shocked and utmost happy to discover Impressionism which was recently proclaimed into a recognized movement . This freshness and light was exactly what he was aspiring for. He was successful and famous in Russia for his innovative and creative talent, the leading member of several influential artistic groups, the protagonist in the Pleiades of the best and greatest of the time.
He had a sunny personality, cherished loyal friendships throughout his life and was adored with fellow students. Full of joie de vivre he was always a center of any friendly gathering.
Korovin was passionate about art ever looking forward, developing new ways of color expression, worked a lot for the theatres changing the perception of stage design and decoration.
In 1900 he designed one of the Russian Empire pavilions for the Paris World Expo for which he was awarded the Legion of Honour by the French Government.
He later became an Academician of Painting and a professor in Art School.
He traveled a lot and left a precious legacy of Russian landscapes.
But one of his favorite themes was undoubtedly Paris since 1890-s. He created beautiful cityscapes like no one French artist of the time. In 1923 with failing health and a handicapped son in his care he got a lucky opportunity to leave Soviet Russia to Paris with lifetime of works for the personal exhibition he hoped to sell to secure his future. To his gravely dismay the collection vanished on its way to be never retrieved. The ageing artist who was heartbroken to leave his homeland and friends behind came to Paris devastated and totally financially broke.
He painted Paris Boulevards and Cafes well into 30-s to make ends meet along with Russian Winters for displaced and nostalgic compatriots immigrants. He also worked tirelessly on stage designs for many leading opera theatres throughout the world.
Always known as a stylish gentleman, generous and cheerful, bright and ever talented he slowly succumbed to the bitterness and hardships of the time. His big heart gave up just a few months before his Paris painted in its splendor and glittering lights, with glorious sun and mysterious shadows, colorful fete de la vie and oblivious crowds, its grisaille and tristesse was defeated and occupied by Nazi.
Konstantin Korovin left a legacy of beautiful paintings of Paris he remembered and loved.
Happy New Year and the Best Wishes to everyone!
Thank you for visiting and supporting my blog in its first year and see you in 2013 !
*Many thanks to someone who put together this collection along with one of my favorite songs by Francoise Hardy.