Prince Paul Troubetzkoy was an accomplished artist certainly, but there was much more to him.
He had a sizable personality and enjoyed talking with people from all walks of life. He spent a lot of time visiting members of the aristocracy but he also felt comfortable interacting with other creative personalities, whether they were fellow artists or writers.
As we look back on his interesting life, he is known for a style in his sculptures that is a blend of the different periods he lived and worked in, since he was active from the 1880s to the 1930s and was influenced by artists in the U.S., Europe and Russia. We also learn that there are some sculptures that are noteworthy in their style but less known – they’ve always remained in private collections rather than museums or public galleries.
Though his entire life was fascinating, it’s also interesting to look at individual pieces. Some prominent examples include:
“A Bronze Figure of a Child”
The subject of this bronze marble in gray-brown patina was believed to be a daughter of musician Ernesto Consolo, a pianist who lived in Milan around the same time that Paul Troubetzkoy was at the beginning of his career in that area. Because Paul Troubetzkoy often surrounded himself with musicians and other creative spirits, it’s likely they interacted. Style-wise it’s unique. Many of his female subjects were more nymph-like who seemed to look out into the world, but the subject in this case seems to be looking inward, or at least at the realistic-looking cloth she’s holding.
This piece, created in red patina and bronze, depicts Carlo Bugatti, an Italian designer. He created it in 1899. This highly-detailed piece shows Bugatti in a formal pose, including the apparel he often wore, including a hat and overcoat. Paul Troubetzkoy included other realistic details in his creation, including his suspenders and high-waisted trousers. Bugatti was required to wear this type of pants for medical reasons since he wasn’t able to belt his trousers at the waist. Troubetzkoy also created a sculpture of Rembrandt Bugatti, Carlo’s son.
“Portrait of the Minister of Finance Sergei Yulyevich Witte with His Setter”
This dark brown and black patina bronze sculpture features Sergei Yulyevich Witte who had this role in the Russian government between 1892 and 1903 and other positions later in life. Troubetzkoy created this piece in 1901 as a tribute to the influential statesman who was able to negotiate a conclusion to the Russo-Japanese War. The sculpture shows Witte in a realistic sitting position with his dog. The original piece remained with various members of the Troubetzkoy family, although one cast was found at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and others were spotted over the years at exhibitions in St. Petersburg, Paris and Chicago.
Troubetzkoy and the noted composer Giacomo Puccini were friends and part of Milan’s cultural community in the 1880s known as the Scapigliati. They met in 1884 during the production of Puccini’s first opera. However, this statuette wasn’t created until 1912 when he began sculpting several musicians he had met over the years. This sculpture has a detailed expression of the composer as well as his hat and overcoat, since he often liked to spend time outdoors. Following Puccini’s death in 1924, Troubetzkoy was commissioned to make a larger, life-sized version of this piece for the Musso Puccini. His bronze pieces of Puccini can now be found in several locations around the world, including the Museo Teatrale alla Scala in Milan and the San Diego Opera Guild in San Diego.