Portrait of Alexei Evgenivich Iacovleff
Noted for portraits and landscapes blending academic standards with modernist techniques, Gleb Ilyin first achieved national recognition in 1930 when he was chosen to do a portrait of Mrs. Herbert Hoover and later became not only a popular portraitist but also an influential teacher. Ilyin was born into an aristocratic family in Kazan, Russia and studied art under Nicolai Fechin, who also later immigrated and became a famous member of the Taos Art Colony. The Russian Revolution forced his family to flee, but fortunately, Gleb had painted portraits of some Japanese officers earlier in World War I and was able to get letters of introduction facilitating their move to Tokyo. In 1923, he followed his brother, artist Peter Alexander Ilyin, to San Francisco. Noted for his blending of the Academic and the Modern, he emphasized the beauty of line as well as the expressionistic use of color, creating paintings that looked completely new while still evoking the manner of the Old Masters. Notice how the pose of Alexei Iacovleff echoes that of Richard Robert Graham in the portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds in the Nortons Power of the Portrait Gallery.