Constantin Kousnetzoff. DISCOVERING AN ARTIST’S HERITAGE
#2 2019 (63)
The French critic Francois Thiebault-Sisson once called the artist Constantin Kouznetzoff (1863-1936) “a Russian who has been one of us already for a quarter of a century”: it was in 1925, on the occasion of Kousnetzoff’s participation (for the 23rd year running) in the Salon d’Automne, at which he showed works from his “Bridges of Paris” series. In a similar vein the Louvre curator Michel Florisoone wrote about Kousnetzoff in the catalogue of the artist's posthumous retrospective at the Salon d’Automne in 1937, a year after his death: “He made his art truly French... [he] infused Impressionism with his deeply personal poetics.” These two statements illustrate the particular quality of Constantin Kousnetzoff’s art, the way he managed to capture the essence of French Impressionism, to adopt its artistry and its liberal approach to brushwork and colour. He was able to become a European painter, while remaining all the time a truly Russian artist, his Russianness enriching his vision of the French tradition.