Boris Anisfeld Russian-American, 1878-1973


Boris Izrailevich Anisfeld was a Russian-American painter and famous theater set and costums designer.


In 1905, Boris Anisfeld was still a student at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts when his work was discovered by the Russian painter and critic Igor Grabar.
The same year, the young artist met choreographer Sergei Diaghilev who asked him to create stage sets for his Russian Ballets.


In 1906, Anisfeld simultaneously showed at the St Petersburg World of Art exhibition and in the Russian section of the Paris Salon d'Automne. Just one year after the famous "Fauves" exhibition, that presented works by Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin and André Derain, whose intense glowing canvases, hallmarked by richly textured powerful colours and boldly innovative compositions, shocked visitors and critics alike only to be soon acclaimed for their expressive use of superb, saturated and contrasting bold colours.


Anisfeld lived in the south of France from 1913. He painted prolifically continued to exhibit at the Salon d'Automne, of which he became a member.

He returned to St Petersburg but, invited to show his work in the United States, he left again in 1917 never to return. In America he became famous for his stage sets for plays, operas and ballets directed by Fokine, Nijinksy and Diaghilev.


Remarkably, just one year after his arrival in the United States, the Brooklyn Museum of Art organised a show of 120 of his works, the exhibition then traveled to nine cities.


Anisfeld launched his own artistic revolution, his work proved enormously influential in the United States. From 1928, he devoted himself to teaching and enjoyed a 30-year career at the Art Institute of Chicago.