Pierre Roy

Boris Anrep in his Studio, 65 Boulevard Arago


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Pierre Roy 1880–1950
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 653 × 501 mm
frame: 753 × 605 × 67 mm
Bequeathed by Mrs M.J.A. Russell 1982

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This is a painting of an imagined sculpture head. Here, Roy turns his friend and fellow-artist Boris Anrep, to stone. Roy uses his usual style of manipulation of perspective to create a sense of great scale. The bust appears to tower over the studio. Though the painted sculpture is solemn and restrained, Roy’s perspective creates an odd effect. The size of the bust creates the feeling of a cinematic zoom, in which an object is suddenly brought into dramatic focus.

Gallery label, August 2020

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Catalogue entry

T03537 Boris Anrep in his Studio, 65 Boulevard Arago 1949

Oil on canvas 25 5/8 × 19 13/16 (653 × 501)
Inscribed ‘P. Roy/1949’ b.r. and ‘BORIS ANREP IN HIS STUDIO/65 BOULEVARD ARAGO/1949’ on back of canvas
Bequeathed by Mrs M.J.A. Russell 1982
Prov: Mrs M.J.A. Russell (bequest from the artist)

An imaginary portrait of the painter and mosaicist Boris Anrep (1883–1969), who was born in St Petersburg and studied art in Paris and Edinburgh. He lived for some years in England, where he made his first mosaics, and then from 1926 mainly in Paris. His works include the mosaic floor for the entrance hall and upper landing of the National Gallery, London (1927 and 1952) and the floor for the former Blake Gallery at the Tate (1923).

He met Pierre Roy when both were studying at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1908, and they remained life-long friends.

Igor Anrep, Boris Anrep's son, says that this studio at 65 Boulevard Arago in Paris (Studio 4) originally belonged to Roy, on a long lease, and Boris Anrep lived next door. But when Anrep parted from his wife Helen in 1926 he got this studio from Roy and it remained his until about three or four years before his death.

The sculpture head is imaginary. The general appearance of the studio is fairly accurate, except that most of the floor was occupied by a very large table and there were not so many pictures. Most of the works on the walls are probably cartoons for mosaics, though hanging high up to the top left of the doorway (above the head) one can see the picture by Pierre Roy ‘A Naturalist's Study’ of 1928 which was bequeathed to the Tate by Anrep in 1969 (T01182). Anrep worked on mosaics in this studio and bought brioche tins to keep his tesserae in. Justin Vulliamy describes Anrep's studio in his introduction to the catalogue of the Anrep retrospective at Gallery Edward Harvane, January–February 1973.

In a private collection there is another portrait of Anrep by Roy painted in 1912 which is realistic and romantic, showing him with a laurel wreath on his head and poems in his hand.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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