Boris Solotareff (1889-1996)


Boris Solotareff was born in Bendare, Romania in 1889. He attended Munich Academy of the Fine Arts, Germany. At the age of eighteen he moved to Munich. He arrived in that city just as it was beginning to assert its role as a major European cultural capital. Solotareff enrolled at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunst during the heyday of the Munich Secession. In the seven years he spent in Munich, he would have been able to experience first-hand the dramatic influence of Kandinsky's Phalanx and Blaue Reiter groups. At the exhibition held by Kandinsky at the Neue Kunstler Vereinigung, the young Romanian artist would have had perhaps his first exposure to the works of Picasso, Braque, and Vlaminck.

One of Solotareff's most splendid paintings, and one of the first to survive, is his Interior of 1913, toward the end of his Munich period. In this depiction of a humble indoor scene, two men are seated around a small table, reading by lamplight. A stove glows in the middle-ground. This image represents the very essence of gemutlichkeit, of domestic coziness. Like so many of the paintings that Solotareff will go on to paint, it is a profoundly, if not exuberantly, happy work of art. It reaffirms the simple pleasures of life, the pleasures of reading and good companionship. Its style is related in a general way to that of German Impressionists like Adolf von Menzel, with the swift panache of its laden brush, the sudden flashes of light. Small Village in Munich was painted a year later. This sympathetic rendering of a country cottage, nestled among trees, suggests that our artist has been closely studying the Brittany paintings of Gauguin. This is seen not only in the dramatically titled perspective, which seems to be that of an airborne bird, but also in the green and russet tones so dear to the French artist. A similarly post - Impressionist influence inspires the attractively composed Snow Covered Roof Tops, in which angular mounds of tawny hay, rendered with deft slices of a palette in the manner of Van Gogh, compete with the stately angles of the brown bar to create an evocative winter scene.

Boris Solotareff lived longer in America than anywhere else, and it was here that he died in 1966. By this time he had been widely exhibited and reviewed, his work was represented in several notable collections, and his presence was felt in the New York art world. By the end of his life, Solotareff had devoted over a half century to creating his peaceful, happy, evocative scenes and portraits.



Selected Exhibitions:

 1990 - Boris Solotareff 1889-1966, A Retrospective, Borghi & Co, New York, NY (solo)

 1940 - Charles Barzansky Galleries, New York, NY

 1938 - Vendome Galleries, New York, NY

 1936 - Cinquentenaire de Symbolisme, Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, France


Selected Public Collections:

 Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, France

 Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris, France

 San Fransisco Museum of Art, San Fransisco, CA

 Staten Island Institute of Arts and Science, Staten Island, NY

 Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

 Yale University School of Music, New Haven CT

 The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York, NY



Boris Solotareff is published in Borghi & Co, “Boris Solotareff A retrospective”, New York, 1990, p. 20, illustrated