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Name: Igor Grabar

Born in: 1871

Country: Russian Empire, USSR

Style: Impressionism, socialist realism



Igor Emmanuilovich Grabar (Russian: Игорь Эммануилович Грабарь, March 25, 1871, Budapest – May 16, 1960,Moscow) was a Russian post-impressionist painter, publisher, restorer and historian of art. Grabar, descendant of a wealthy Rusyn, Ukrainian ethnic group family, was trained as a painter by Ilya Repin in Saint Petersburg and by Anton Ažbe in Munich.


In 1902 he joined Mir Iskusstva, although his relations with its leaders Sergei Diaghilev and Mstislav Dobuzhinsky were far from friendly. In 1910–1915 Grabar edited 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 on architecture that set an unsurpassed standard of understanding and presenting the subject. Concurrently he wrote and published a series of books on contemporary and historic Russian painters. In 1913 he was appointed executive director of the Tretyakov Gallery and launched an ambitious reform program that continued until 1926. Grabar diversified the Tretyakov collection into modern art and in 1917 published its first comprehensive catalogue. In 1921 Grabar became the first professor of Art restoration at the Moscow State University.


An experienced politician, Grabar stayed at the top of the Soviet art establishment until his death, excluding a brief voluntary retirement in 1933–1937. He managed art-restoration workshops (present-day Grabar Institute) during 1918–1930 and from 1944 to 1960. Grabar took active part in redistribution of former church art nationalized by the Bolsheviks and established new museums for the looted treasures. In 1943 he formulated the Soviet doctrine of compensating World War II losses with art looted in Germany. After the war, he personally advised Joseph Stalin on the preservation of architectural heritage. He persuaded Stalin to return the former St. Andronik Monastery, once converted to a prison, if not to the church but to the artistic community. The remains of the monastery, restored by Pyotr Baranovsky, became the Andrey Rublyov Museum of Old Russian Art.


After Stalin's death Grabar was the first to publicly denounce run-off-the-mill socialist realism.


Grabar died in 1960.