Filipp Maliavin in Emigration: Artistic Strategy and the Afterlife of Secessionism
This essay addresses artistic strategy in interwar Europe through the career of Russian émigré artist Filipp Maliavin. Maliavin's eclectic style, which adopted modern techniques but still strove for legibility, was characteristic of the international juste milieu artists participating in the secessionist system of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Scholars have emphasized this system's demise in 1914, yet Maliavin's success demonstrates how secessionist exhibitions and transnational networks continued to benefit artists. Exploring Maliavin's dominance of the Parisian salons, and his ability to market his work across Europe amid worldwide economic crisis in the 1930s, dispels previous assumptions about how artists operated during this period. In addition, this account illuminates the rich possibilities that unfold when investigating artists residing in the middle ground between tradition and avant-garde, challenging narratives that dismiss continuity in artists' careers as regressive.