Braz Iosiph Emanuilovich
(1873, Odessa – 1936, Lis-Shantilie, close to Paris)
Osip Emanuilovich Braz is the representative of the row of artists whose names belong to the association “The world of art”. Perfect portrait, still life and landscape artist O. Braz, has been spared in dramatic turns of life that is so typical for many Russian artists first half of last century.
He was born and raised in Odessa. Began his painting lessons at Odessa drawing School at K. Kostandi class, in 1890-94 continued his education in Munich, in a private school of the Hungarian artist Sh. Holloshi, then during the trip to France and Holland, he studied the works of old masters, acquainted with the modern European art. Already established artist O. Braz in 1895 entered the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, he studied in Repin’s studio. At the same time he began to participate in exhibitions. In 1897 O. Braz was named artist, not for a special competition picture, but for a series of portraits. One of them – “Portrait of E. M. Martynova” (1896) – was acquired by P. Tretyakov, and then he ordered portraits of V. F. Komissarzhevskaya and A. P. Chekhov. In the workshop of I. Repin O. Braz become closer to young painters who soon enter into the artistic association “World of Art”, and subsequently O. Braz became a permanent member of this association.
Painter created whole gallery of Russian artists’ portraits of the late XIX – early XX century: L. O. Pasternak, A. P. Sokolov, K. A. Somov, K. K. Pervuhin, I. Y. Gintsburg etc. After the host abroad in the 1907-11 Braz’s picturesque style has become more free and flavor full. In this manner were created landscapes of the Crimea and Finland relating to 1910. In 1914 O. Braz became an Academician. Since the end of 1890 he taught at his own studio (it was visited by Z. E. Serebryakova), in the Drawing school at the Imperial Society for the Encouragement of Arts (1902-04), in 1920-ies in the Higher Art and Technical Institute.
O. Braz was an excellent connoisseur of art and collector. Because of these reasons, he was incorporated as a specialist in the commission for the restoration of paintings of the Hermitage, and in 1918 he was appointed as the keeper of the museum. With one of the masterpieces of its collection – the painting of J. B. Chardin “Still-life with the attributes of art” – Hermitage bound to O. Braz. The artist found this painting at the commission store, restored it, and identified the author. During these years the artist himself was drawn to the genre of still life and wrote a series of paintings, high valued by experts. These include submitted in the collection canvas “Still life with apples”. Under the impression of Holland art of XVII the artist created a series of “dumb” still life: “Still life with copper mortar”, “Still Life with Blue Jug”, “Still Life with a white cloth”, “Still Life with tubes”, “Still life with samovar” etc.
In 1924 the artist was arrested on charges of buying paintings for export abroad and spying, and then for three years he was imprisoned at the Solovetsky camp, and his collection was nationalized. Only at the end of 1926, he was released at the request of Leningrad artistic societies. Not wishing to tempt the fate more O. Braz went to Germany in 1928 to his family, and then settled in Paris. During these years A Benoit told about the artist: “Among those few who are still here in the foreign land, who was active, enthusiastic burnt association “World of Art”, Braz was one of the most characteristic figures”. The last years of his life, the artist spent in Paris, where he was successfully painting, collecting and antiques traded. Knowledge and experience have enabled the artist to successfully maintain antique trade and collect a large collection of works of art.