Part of the appeal of Prince Paul Troubetzkoy’s artwork is that there’s so much of it around the world. Some of his sculptures and statuettes are well-known since they were featured in galleries and exhibitions during the artist’s lifetime.
But he also created other pieces for private commissions or fellow artists, and they remained in the possession of the individual or their family for years. In some cases, the original sculpture may be in one place but bronze or plaster cast duplicates of it were created and can be found elsewhere. The Troubetzkoy family also held onto many of his sculptures over the years and sold them occasionally.
His pieces also reflect special moments of time during his life, including where he was living, who his companions were at the time, and his artistic techniques which evolved through the years.
Some of the more interesting pieces include:
“Portrait of a Seated Lady”
This bronze in dark brown patina was created in 1914 and shows what’s believed to be a high society woman. The pose is considered technically challenging to create due to the long, skinny limbs and almost regal expression. It’s similar to a portrait he created of Marchesa Luisa Casati in 1913. He also has a similar piece, “Portrait of a Seated Woman,” dated 1906, which the subject leaning to the right rather than sitting up straight.
Countess Tamara de Svirsky was the subject of this bronze with brown and black patina, which he created in 1920. She was a renowned Russian-born dancer and pianist who traveled around the world and collaborated with other musicians and dancers. Troubetzkoy met her in Paris in 1905. He used a technique called bravura which captures her expressions as well as creates a sense of action, as if her feet and arms are in motion. Countess de Svirsky was also known for performing exotic dances often barefoot.
“A Bronze Figure of Lady Constance Stewart Richardson”
American historians may categorize Lady Constance Stewart Richardson as a suffragette, but Troubetzkoy and the rest of the world also knew her as an accomplished athlete, dancer, choreographer, and costumer. While she campaigned for women’s rights in the U.S., she formed a dance troupe in London where the women performed with bare legs. This was considered scandalous at the time, especially for a woman of noble birth to be involved in. She and Troubetzkoy became friends, and he created this bronze with a dark/silvery patina that shows her dancing, including extended bare legs. Versions of this piece can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as well as the Detroit Institute of Fine Arts.
“Bust of Arturo Toscanini (1866-1957)”
Troubetzkoy only created a bust of this acclaimed composer, rather than a full-body statuette that he made for others. However, this piece, dated around 1920, also was quite detailed and realistic in showing Toscanini’s appearance, including his hair, eyebrows, mustache and bowtie. Both men had a similar connection to Lake Maggiore in Italy, where Toscanini liked to vacation and Troubetzkoy grew up and considered his hometown. The plaster version of this piece can be found at the Museo del Paesaggio in the Verbania Pallanza district of Lake Maggiore, and a bronze version was also cast in that area.
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