The name of the famous Russian Avant-garde artist and representative of the Ecole de Paris, Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné (Shulim Volf Baranov) was nearly forgotten in his motherland for many years. The artist spent a large part of his life and creative career in Europe, and collectors of his work and those who appreciate his talent were also based in Europe. A series of retrospective exhibitions, which took place in Moscow and St Petersburg in 2002 and 2007, saw an incredible surge of interest in Baranoff-Rossiné's works in Russia.
Baranoff, a student of the Odessa Art School (1903-1908), famous for its 'Bohemian' atmosphere and liberal opinions, was well-acquainted with the innovations in the European paintings. The evidence of this is the young artist's unique early work: Self-portrait (1907). This work is a manifestation portrait that marks the boundary between the educational adaptation of motives and Western modernists' techniques and an original approach to landscape painting. Painting himself in a studio flooded with light and dressed in the artist's working overalls with a thin brush in his hands, Baranoff-Rossiné declares himself an independent creative personality.
For many centuries, painters have returned to the genre of self-portraits, wishing to express their character and artistic personality. The self-portrait has a multitude of functions and tasks. On one side it is a means of artistic self-knowledge, while on the other hand it is a declaration to the world of one's artistic and personal qualities. The young artist's usage of self-portrait genre is evidence of a wish to show the succession of his creative work and painters' ancient work. At the same time, the usage of the progressive artistic techniques shows that Baranoff-Rossiné sees himself in the Avant-garde of artistic life.
Much later, Baranov would be called 'Un genie multiple', a genius of diversity. Nevertheless, even in such an early work as Self-portrait with brush, the young painter managed to masterfully unite the experiences of the Russian realistic school of painting and the French Post-impressionists. In 1909, the painter, disillusioned with his studies at the St Petersburg Academy of Art, departed for Paris, the capital of art. From that point, he became a notable figure in Ecole de Paris, working under the pseudonym Daniel Rossiné. For many years, he would develop and work on the ideas and motives, shown in his early Self-portrait with brush.