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University of Connecticut University Libraries

The Paintings of Alexey von Schlippe
August 28-October 20, 2000
Alexey von Schlippe was born in Moscow in 1915 into the family of a minister in Czar Nicholas II's court. Fleeing the Russian Revolution, his family escaped to Finland in 1920 and later moved to Germany. Alexey was educated at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts, and pursued his career as an artist in Germany until he departed for the United States in 1948. He lived first in Wisconsin, and then in New York before settling in Connecticut In 1954, he renounced his title as a Russian baron, and became a US citizen. He taught painting and art history at the Norwich Free Academy from 1955 to 1963, and at the University of Connecticut's Waterbury, Storrs, and Avery Point campuses from 1963 until 1982. He died in Munich, Germany in 1988.

Von Schlippe was a prolific and innovative painter, and at his death, the von Schlippe family, who live in Germany, donated some five hundred of his works to the university, including representative paintings of a variety of subjects. These have become the core of the permanent collection of the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery, dedicated to his memory and housed in the Branford House mansion on the Avery Point campus.

The large-scale paintings shown in this exhibit are characteristic of von Schlippe's portraits and landscapes, which, although representational, combine elements of abstraction and surrealism. They are striking in their unique treatment of fundamental ambiguities relating to the way objects and human figures occupy or "own" space.

Helmut Nickel, former curator of arms and armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, described von Schlippe's art as follows: "...based on traditional forms rooted in his European and specifically Russian heritage, [von Schlippe's work] reflects his wide-ranging personal experience of the vagaries of life; it shows the glow of early Quattrocento masters permeated with the hieratic austerity of Byzantine icons. A subtle blending of realism and abstraction is particularly evident in his landscapes, which go far beyond mere design in their human evaluation of nature..There is a striking combination of modern view and traditional aesthetics in Alexey von Schlippe's [work] that interprets the past with a fresh and individual vision."

Paintings in the exhibit are loaned by the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery and by other private collectors as noted.

Babbidge Library, Stevens Gallery
Curators: David Kapp and Julia Pavone