About the Troubetzkoy Archive Project, Troubetzkoy and his work
Paul Troubetzkoy was often described as an Impressionist sculptor by contemporary critics. He created effects similar to what the Scapigliati painters did on canvas by interweaving between his subject and the atmosphere around it. Troubetzkoy approached his portrait busts without using preparatory sketches of models. His working methods and aesthetic preferences produced bronze busts that showed evidence of their process of creation, with some lesser worked areas along with highly finished areas. In that sense he belongs to the Cosmopolitan Realist movement which encompassed John Singer Sargent, Giovanni Boldini and others (1). Troubetzkoy’s sculptural vision was clearly articulated in his…
Paul Troubetzkoy was born in 1866 at Intra, on the shores of the Lake Maggiore in Italy, about sixty miles from Milan. His father was a Russian prince who had married American opera singer Ada Winans and settled in Italy. So the colourful world of Italian opera – centred on La Scala, made a strong impression on him from an early age.
Paul Troubetzkoy mixed with celebrities of his day on both sides of the Atlantic. Among his best works were a small number of portraits of talented young women who achieved fame for their dancing abilities. Firstly his ‘Danseuse’ of 1910, then his 1914 Lady Constance Stewart Richardson depicted the notable Scottish dancer and suffragette (1883-1932) and finally his 1915 cast of Irene Castle. In each of these sculptures, the subject appears entirely wrapped up in their thoughts, unaware of the viewer.
John Sergio Grioni was born in 1938, the year Paul Troubetzkoy died, and by the time his lifelong interest in the sculptor began, Troubetzkoy had, as he later wrote, become “a forgotten celebrity”.
On the first floor of the magnificent Musée D’Orsay you will find an imposing bronze of Count Robert de Montesquiou, once the arbiter of elegance in Paris society.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), the famous playwright and Fabian socialist, was a devoted vegetarian like Troubetzkoy. They became firm friends, with the playwright modelled three times over twenty years.
The aim of the Troubetzkoy Archive Project (TAP) is to establish a central database as the basis for a documented and reliable online Catalogue Raisonné, which provides complete and easily accessible information to a wide audience of experts or even art lovers. The inherent complexity of constructing a Catalogue Raisonné, combined with the vastness and relative dispersion of Troubetzkoy’s ‘oeuvre’, make the undertaking highly challenging but certainly fascinating. In any case, we see it as an overdue effort to celebrate the work of a sculpture’s genius and revive his fame.
The Troubetzkoy Archive Project aims to celebrate a great artist and revive his fame. Why Troubetzkoy? What makes his artistic and personal profile so fascinating? What clues did he leave behind and why are we undertaking a vast and rigorous study to create the Catalogue Raisonné of his complete work?