Boris Anrep (1883-1969)

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Mosaicist, painter and poet. Anrep initially studied law at St. Petersburg University, but influenced by the sculptor and painter Dmitrii Stelletskii (1875-1947), he turned to the visual arts. He studied art for a time in Paris and then traveled to Greece and Italy to study mosaics. Anrep continued his education at the College of Arts in Edinburgh, before establishing his own mosaic studio in London in 1911. Among Anrep's acquaintances in England were the artists Henry Lamb and Augustus John and the art critic Roger Fry. While in England, Anrep played a significant role in facilitating contact between Russian and English artists; for example, he provided critical support for the Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition, "British, French, and Russian Painters," held in London in 1912. The following year Anrep held his first solo exhibition of paintings, drawings, and mosaics at the London gallery, Chenil. During the years 1912 - 1914, Anrep wrote a series of four articles for Apollon on the subject of painting; "A Conversation about Painting," translated below, opens this series. At the onset of World War I, Anrep returned to Russia and was called up to serve in the Russian army. During visits to Petersburg in the 1910s, Anrep became friends with the poet Anna Akhmatova who dedicated numerous poems to him. Anrep himself wrote poetry and, in turn, dedicated both poems and mosaics to Akhmatova. Anrep left Russia for good in 1917 and spent the rest of his life in London and Paris, working as a mosaicist. From 1928 to 1952, Anrep created mosaics for the vestibule of the National Gallery in London.

(Introduction and translation by Kelly Miller)

'A Conversation about Painting'