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A Ukrainian painter and theorist, Alexis Gritchenko studied philology and biology at the
universities of Kiev, St Petersburg and Moscow before turning to art.
He studied painting in Moscow and established close ties with the
collectors Sergey Shchukin and Ivan Morozov. In 1911 he visited Paris
where he became an enthusiast of Cubist painting, which, after a trip
to Italy in 1913–14, he blended with his study of early Italian
Renaissance painters, creating a style that brought together the
cosmopolitan and urbane with the orthodoxy of the Byzantine legacy of
Hryshchenko (Gritchenko) devoted his theoretical work to the subject of
Byzantine art and its links with modern art (1912) and to an analysis
of the formal and stylistic properties of Byzantine painting in terms
of modernist tendencies and practice (1916). After the 1917 revolution
he became a professor at the Free Art Studios (Svomas) in Moscow and a
member of the Commission for the Preservation of Historic Monuments.
1919 he left Russia by way of the Crimea for Constantinople and Greece,
which marked the beginning of a distinctive and inspired period of
watercolour painting. In 1921, when he arrived in Paris, 12 paintings
of Constantinople were included in the Salon d’Automne. A subsequent
trip to Greece resulted in works that brought him into contact with
renowned dealers and distinguished collectors (Léopold Zborowski,
Albert C. Barnes).
After 1924 Hryshchenko (Gritchenko) lived in southern France
where he painted in muted, controlled and diaphanously transparent
tones. In 1937 a one-man exhibition was held at the Museum of Ukrainian
Art in L’vov (now L’viv). Later, the works that had been housed in the
L’viv museum were branded as ‘formalist’ and destroyed during the
To preserve his artistic legacy the Alexis Gritchenko
Foundation was formed in New York in 1958.