top of page

Pierre Grimm (1898 — 1979), a painter, was born on 29 June, 1898 in a landowning family of German background.  

His art studies began in 1913 in St-Petersburg workshop of Ya.F. Tsionglinsky, then, in 1914 he was a student of Imperial Academy of Arts. After some months of studies, in 1915, he joined an expedition to the Russian part of Central Asia. There he worked as a painter and photographer, exploring the flora and fauna of the steppe. That was where his life-long passion for photography started.

In 1917, he moved to Moscow, painting stage scenery there and working for newspapers.

In 1920 he had to leave Russia. First, he moved to Constantinople (1920), then to Zagreb, Vienna, Berlin. Since 1923, Pierre Grimm lived in Paris (in 1927 he settled in Montparnasse). Living off odd jobs like loading and being artists' model, he painted in gouache and oils. In 1930, he hired a small workshop and painted views from its window. His friends were Yu. P. Annenkov and I. A. Puni.

In 1929, the painter started exhibiting at Paris galleries. During 1930-ies he took part in a number of exhibitions: Retrospective Exhibition of Russian Art in Prague (1935); group exhibitions of Russian artists in Paris galleries Castelucho-Diana and Zak, organized by the magazine “Nash Soyuz” (Russian for “Our Union”, (1936). His solo exhibitions were held in the Crausen gallery, Copenhagen (1935) and in A. Poyet’s gallery in Paris (1938). In 1939, Jeu de Paume museum bought one of his pictures, following P. Bonnard’s recommendation. He stayed in Paris during the war. With the help of Puni, he rented a studio on the Boulevard Saint-Jacques, 31. His neighbours — the artists V. da Silva and A. Szenes, later with A.G. Staritskaya — became his new friends. In 1943 his solo exhibition was held in the Rotgé gallery. In 1945 — 1946 he participated in exhibitions of Russian artists, organized by the “France-USSR” Committee and the Union of Russian patriots.

He married Alexandra Buschanska (d. 1985), a manager of a tailoring shop, who let her husband devote himself to creative work.

In the postwar years, he turned to abstract painting. In 1952 he started painting cartoons for Beauvais tapestries manufactory. More solo exhibitions followed: Paris (Pierre, 1949; Bellechasse, 1957; Le Point Cardinal, 1962), New York (Knoedler, 1949), London (O'Hana, 1954), Stockholm and Oslo (1962). He also participated in the exhibitions: “Russian artists of the Paris School” (House of French thought, 1961), “Celebrities and youth of our days” (Museum of Modern Art of Paris, 1968), “Russian again” (Françoise Tournié, 1975), “Russian View” ( Heidelberg, 1974) and others.

In 1962 he became a member of the Salon d'Automne, in 1964 — Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters. In 1977, the last time when he participated in the Salon d'Automne, two halls were devoted to his work. In 2011, the artist’s works were exhibited in Moscow at the exhibition “Art-mission: Return to the Motherland”, held in the antique interior.

Pierre Grimm biography

June 29, 1898
Yekaterinoslav, Ukraine
(now Dnipropetrovsk)
September 22, 1979
Paris, France



bottom of page