Study Tour 1
Paris and the Russian Avant-Garde
Dr Natalia Murray
Friday 7 – Sunday 9 May 2021
In the course of this online study tour, we shall immerse ourselves in the Paris of the turn of the twentieth century, when Russian artists, along with many other artistic immigrants, settled into the bohemian district of Montparnasse. Following in the footsteps of Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov, who were both early Russian collectors of French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, we shall ‘walk’ along Rue Lafitte to pay visits to the famous art-dealers Paul Durand-Ruel and Ambroise Vollard. We shall then imagine spending an evening with the brilliant Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes at the Paris Opera at Palais Garnier, where we can also admire Chagall’s beautiful ceiling frescoes.
Launched in Paris in 1909, Diaghilev’s Saisons Russes marked a turning point for Russian art in France and proved to be a major influence on contemporary ballet dancing and theatre design. Modern French art was undoubtedly a touchstone throughout the period, but it was the variety of ways in which so many Russian artists fused French innovations with the extraordinary wealth of their own cultural heritage, which resulted in the flowering of the Russian avant-garde and its influence on the course of modern art.
During our online tour, we shall encounter Russian artists who fell under the spell of French art in Moscow, as well as those who worked together in the famous Parisian artists’ ‘hive’ La Ruche, or studied at the various private academies in the French capital, including the Académie Julian or the Marie Vassilieff Russian Art Academy.
Dr Natalia Murray gained a BA and MA in art history at the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg, and a PhD at The Courtauld. She is a writer, teacher and curator specialising in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Russian and Western European art and is the curator of the Royal Academy’s major exhibition Revolution. Russian Art 1917-1932 (2017). Natalia is currently working on several new exhibition projects in Moscow and Paris, while also teaching as an Associate lecturer at The Courtauld. She has published widely in her field; her most recent book, Art for the Workers: Proletarian Art and Festive Decorations of Petrograd 1917-1920 was published by Brill in May 2018.