Boris Smirnoff


Artist Biography:

Born in Russia at the end of the 19th Century, Boris Smirnoff was born into a family of French aristocratic émigrés who had fled to Russia from France at the time of the French Revolution, almost 100 years earlier. He, in turn, fled from Russia at the time of the Russian Revolution and adopted the name of Smirnoff to facilitate his escape to France, the home of his ancestors. He studied in Paris under Fougita, as well as at the studio of Lucien Simon at L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He moved to Southern France, where he spent the rest of his life, living in the hill village of Haut-de-Cagnes. He became a well known personality, painting many young ladies, mainly as nudes, exchanging artwork with local restaurants and grocers in exchange for meals and provisions, and embarking on long cruises every year where he purchased the cheapest ticket, set up his easel in the First Class salon and found many of his long term patrons. Errol Flynn and Rita Hayworth became close friends and admirers. He created some of the decoration for the Italian Embassy in Tokyo and his works today are found in the art museums of Haut-de-Cagnes, Grenoble, Moscow and Prague. His work is regarded as subtle and sensual and the influence of Fougita in his techniques are very obvious. His portrait list includes many of Hollywood's most famous of the era, as well as major politicians and industrial figures of the time.

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