Aleksei Bogoliubov was a tireless traveler and discovered Normandy in 1857. He painted the area many times and often returned between 1870 and 1896. As with those of Boudin, his landscapes of Normandy are small-scale and often consist of a low grey sky occupying two thirds of the composition, the sea mingling with the sky almost to the horizon, with greenish rocks and a beach populated by figures barely outlined.
Bogoliubov also explored many techniques. For his small Normandy landscapes he often painted on panel, preferring canvas for his large marine scenes. He also worked in watercolour. More surprisingly, in 1875 Bogoliubov organised a ceramic workshop in Paris and learnt how to work on lava, in a fashion close to that used for traditional Russian decorative tiles. In his Notes of a Sailor-Painter he praises the merits of this technique, including the strength of the support. He introduced the technique to other Russian artists including Ilya Repin, Vasily Polenov, Viktor Vasnetsov and later Ivan Pokhitonov during their time in Paris. A large number of these works are held in the collection of the Radishchev Museum of Fine Arts, Saratov.
The same motifs common to Bogoliubov's paintings appear on his dishes, earthenware tiles and lava plaques. The media and techniques used however give very different results: on lava the colours are brighter and retain a fresh appearance for a long time.
We would like to thank Tatiana Mojenok-Ninin, author of Peintres realistes russes en France (1860-1900) and Les peintres russes et la Normandie au XIXe siècle, for providing this note.