Who is Igor Grabar?

By Gwylym Owen

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Igor Emmanuilovich Grabar (Russian: Игорь Эммануилович Грабарь, 25 March 1871 in Budapest – 16 May 1960 in Moscow) was a Russian post-impressionist painter, publisher, restorer and historian of art. Grabar, descendant of a rich Rusyn family, was trained as a painter by Ilya Repin in Saint Petersburg and by Anton Ažbe in Munich. He reached his height in painting in 1903–1907 and was notable for a unusual divisionist painting technique bordering upon pointillism and his rendition of snow.

By the stop of 1890s, Grabar had normal himself as an art critic. In 1902, he allied Mir Iskusstva, although his relations in imitation of its leaders Sergei Diaghilev and Mstislav Dobuzhinsky were far from friendly. In 1910–1915, Grabar condensed and published his opus magnum, the History of Russian Art. The History employed the finest artists and critics of the period; Grabar personally wrote the issues upon architecture that set an unsurpassed conventional of pact and presenting the subject. Concurrently, he wrote and published a series of books on contemporary and historic Russian painters. In 1913, he was appointed doling out director of the Tretyakov Gallery and launched an ambitious reform program that continued until 1926. Grabar diversified the Tretyakov increase into enlightened art and in 1917 published its first sum up catalogue. In 1921 Grabar became the first professor of Art restoration at the Moscow State University.

An experienced politician, Grabar stayed at the summit of the Soviet art inauguration until his death, excluding a brief voluntary retirement in 1933–1937. He managed art-restoration workshops (present-day Grabar Centre) during 1918–1930 and from 1944 to 1960. Grabar took supple part in redistribution of former church art nationalized by the Bolsheviks and customary new museums for the confiscated treasures. In 1943, he formulated the Soviet doctrine of compensating World War II losses once art looted in Germany. After the war, he personally advised Joseph Stalin on the preservation of architectural heritage.

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