Alexandre Roubtzoff

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Biography of Alexandre Roubtzoff ( 1884-1949 )

Born in Saint Petersburg, Alexandre Roubtzoff has been guided into artistic environment by his aunt Jekaterina Alexandrovna Wachter, a painter who inscribed the nine years old child at the Fine Art Academy. During several years, he followed Kardousky Zionglinski’s teaching, a good friend of his aunt who strongly influenced his work.

During summer 1899, Roubtzoff, his aunt and his master travelled across Europe. This trip has been repeated several summers and they croosed the continent, visiting Russia, Crimea, Poland, and also France, Italy or even Sicily.

In 1904, Alexandre Roubtzoff joined the Imperial Academy of Saint Petersburg where he was part of Kardousky’s class. During this six years teaching, in addition to daily drawing’s, anatomy’s and perspective’s exercises, Roubtzoff also followed theoretical training about art history, archeology and aesthetics. This teaching allowed the artist to develop different styles and to amass solid artistic and technical bases.

In November 1912, he gained the Great Prize of Painting at the Imperial Academy through an interior scene now kept at the Ermitage Museum. This prize allowed him to obtain a grant for a four years journey. In return, he must exhibit the totality of his art works at the Imperial Academy.

In 1913, his first trip took him to Spain. Andalusia fascinated him so much that he wanted to discover oriental light and Moorish architecture. During a short stay in Morocco, he discovered the beauty of the Orient in Tangier : the amazing light of the Medina streets, the deep eyes of women and the souks’ activity. There, one advised him to go to Tunisia to find the famous light he was looking for.

In this way, he arrived in Tunis on April 1st 1914, and quickly headed for South. In 1915, after Bolshevist Revolution and the terrible events that affect Europe, Roubtzoff decided to definitively settle in Tunis. He will never see his native country any more.

Friend of Baron Rodolphe d’Erlanger settled in Sidi Bou Saïd, the artist rised to the rank of official painter of Tunisia, that deserved him the awarding Nichan-Iftikhar medal in 1920. On the same year during the Tunisian Salon, he exhibited a hundred and twenty art works. Alexandre Fichet nicknamed him «  the painter of light ».

Very close to France, Roubtzoff frequently spent time in Paris where he exhibited in 1921 at the Gallery Frères. He also took part in the Colonial Exhibition in Marseille and in the Autumn Salon in Paris in 1922. From then, he shared his life between Tunisia and France and obtained the French nationality in 1924.

The artist was a frequent visitor to the Carthage Institute and realised society portraits that opened a few doors to high colonial society. He also painted post-impressionnist landscapes with elegant touch that was liked as much as his Bedouin portraits. These lanscapes are showing his fascination for light’s vibration and are also reflecting his enormous emotional attachment to his country of adoption.

Roubtzoff examined and followed the way of ethnographic painting. This singular artist painted numerous genre scenes from daily life, making him a remarkable witness of local customs. His painting notable by its quality and its informative angle is showing precious moments of a pass time. He was The painter of Tunisia.

The artist exhibited regularly in numerous Salons in North Africa and France. In 1929, he was part of the North African Salon in Casablanca, and from 1930 to 1946, he exhibited in the Independents’ Salon in Paris.

His works were still exhibited after his death in Tunis during the Salon in 1950, 1951 and 1952.

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