Portrait of a Lady - David Burliuk

Portrait of a Lady

Date Unknown

Known as the “Father of Russian Futurism,” David Burliuk studied at Russian art schools in Kazan and Odessa, and the academy at Munich, where he became an associate of Wassily Kadinsky.  He participated in many Russian and European avant-garde movements and contributed to numerous written manifestos, such as the essay on Russian Fauvist artists, entitled “The Savages of Russia,” for the historic Der Blaue Reiter Almanac.  Having incorporated a variety of stylistic modes throughout his career, Burliuk has been termed a Futurist, a Neoprimitive, an Espressionist and an Impressionist.

Therefore, classifying Portrait of a Lady requires the recognition of a combination of more than one style within this small painting.  Certainly, the thick applications of paint are expressionistic while the prevalence of white has an impressionistic flavor. The Classic bust-length portrait of a woman in early twentieth century dress is placed in front of a seascape.  The small size and quickly painted surface of Portrait of a Lady suggests that it may have been executed for a study, rather than for a finished work.