HOME 
 
 BIOGRAPHY 
 MYTHS & FACTS 
 
 PAINTINGS 1912-1913 
 PAINTINGS 1914-1915 
 PAINTINGS 1916-1920 
 PAINTINGS 1921-1923 
 PAINTINGS 1924-1926 
 PAINTINGS 1926-1929 
 PAINTINGS 1928-1935 
 PAINTINGS 1933-1942 
 PAINTINGS 1942-1956 
 HARLEQUINS 
 
 FIGURATIVE DRAWINGS 
 ABSTRACT DRAWINGS 
 WATERCOLOR, GOUACHE 
 RELIEFS 
 LINOCUTS 
 LITHOGRAPHS 
 
 TEXTS by IVAN PUNI 
 EXHIBITIONS
 
 CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ 
 FORGERIES 
 ROLE OF XANA 
 
 CONTACTS 

 

 

 

 

  ROLE OF XENIA BOGUSLAVSKAYA РУ DE EN

Xenia Boguslavskaya (1892-1972) - wife, faithful companion and personal manager of Jean Pougny, devoted her life to supporting her husband and, after his death, to popularising his work.
From the very beginning of their life together (1913), Xana acted with Ivan in all his projects without exception. One can mention the organisation of the First and Last Futurist Exhibitions ("Tramway V" and "0.10") in 1915, the decoration of Petrograd for the anniversary of the revolutionary holidays (1918), etc. When Puni was appointed professor at the former Academy of Arts in November 1918, Xana enrolled as a student in his workshop and became the workshop monitor. A vivid image of Xana was drawn by Gregorio Sciltian, who worked in Paris in the early 1930s under the same roof as Pougny:

The most amazing thing about Vanya's family was his wife Xana. She used to be a painter too. She was very beautiful - a typical Cossack or Ukrainian beauty, with burning eyes and a lush figure, very clever and explosively energetic - the type of woman described in Sholokhov's novels. When I came to them, she had already faded somewhat, but could still amaze by her untiring endeavour to find work and to glorify her husband's name. She was the prototype, the synthesis and summit of that type of Russian woman who devotes herself entirely to her husband and supports him with iron tenacity in all matters in order to establish his name and himself. [...] All day long she carried Pougny's paintings under her arm. She achieved access to all artistic circles and everywhere proved the genius of Vanya and the importance of his work. She tirelessly made acquaintances, was on friendly terms with critics and traders, brought buyers. In addition to this heroic dedication, she also designed hats and jumpers, thus giving Vanya the opportunity to lie on the sofa or spend time with their dog. [...] In the evening, when I was about to leave, his wife would burst into the studio like a meteor, having finished a long, difficult day full of troubles and work. Whenever she found a freshly painted canvas, she blossomed with happiness: "Vanya, you've been working! How happy I am! But it's a real masterpiece! Tomorrow morning I'll take it to Marcel Bernheim, or better still, to Bing. You've guessed his taste exactly. What feeling, what poetry, and what a stroke! Perhaps you'd better take it to Hessel. You'll see, he'll offer you a contract right away. This landscape is full of poetry ...". "Still life," remarked Vanya in a dry voice. "It doesn't matter," Xana went on and threw me a triumphant look, "what's important is that there's a deep feeling here - that's the most important thing in painting." (Gregorio Sciltian. Mia avventura. Milano: Rizzoli, 1963).

Xana was well versed in the Parisian art market, where she herself had been brokering not only her husband's works but also those of other artists since at least 1926. She is known to have business connections with André Derain and Marie Laurencin, among others. Over time, she became an experienced art dealer and knew the customs of the art market from all sides, light and dark.
When Pougny was gone, Xana arranged his retrospective exhibitions, compiled exhibition catalogues, donated his works to museums, sold them to museums and private collections, printed reproductions, prepared material for the catalogue raisonné. In her letters to the friends she often lamented the enormous amount of work and lack of time, for example, in her letter to Shklovsky dated 18.11.1962 (РГАЛИ 562-2-653):

"Now I have to do something else - books, exhibitions, tidying up the archive and distributing paintings to French and foreign museums (I sell them to private people by necessity and atrociously expensive), because I have to hurry, I'm afraid of dying and not having time. But now there is nothing to be afraid of and Vanya goes along with the "greats". Some articles are entitled "An event in Paris: exhibitions of Goya, Braque and Pougny". But there is absolutely no one to entrust the continuation - not a pocket, but a heartfelt one."

In 1959/1960, Xana donated 12 paintings by Pougny to the French state, and in 1966 another 50 works, paintings and drawings. Today they are kept in the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris.

Xana turned out to be an exemplary comrade. Any artist could only dream of such support, but in her zeal she seems to have overdone it. She wanted to present her husband's work in all its fullness and splendour, but there was a problem: Most of Pougny's early works remained in Russia. Xana made every effort to get to them, but was forced to realise, that many of the early pieces were either lost or inaccessible. So she made the bold decision to restore them herself. This is how a number of reliefs, gouaches and linocuts appeared. Xana would not have had any complaints if she had signed the reconstructions frankly with her own name and the corresponding date, but she preferred to attribute them retroactively to her husband, apparently believing that, as a professional and like-minded artist, she was able to reconstruct his work completely and indistinguishably. Xana's doubts about the correctness of her chosen path are indirectly evidenced by her phrase in the same letter:

"I can't sleep until 3 or 4 o'clock at night, I keep tossing and turning and plaguing with doubts, not to do any harm or foolishness. Although I was accustomed to activity "outside", there was always Vanya, who, if I went too far, stopped the fountain immediately."

It seems that Xana did "go too far" after all. Works made by her and under her supervision - reconstructions or reproductions authorised by the artist's wife, are discussed in the sections WATERCOLOR, GOUACHE, RELIEFS, LINOCUTS, LITHOGRAPHS.

Xenia Leonidovna Boguslavskaya (Pougny) (1892-1972)
Before 1917 dates are given according to the old calendar

24 January 1892 Xenia Leonidovna Bogoslovskaya (sic!) was born in Odessa.
The father - Leonid Ivanovich Bogoslovsky (01.01.1854, Yaroslavl province - 22.07.1902, Talienvan, Kwantun region). The mother - Vera Fedorovna Bogoslovskaya (born Alabugina, daughter of lieutenant; 26.04.1858, Odessa - 16.08.1921, Petrograd). In Odessa they lived in the Pavlov building of cheap flats on Kulikovo Pole Square (81 Kanatnaya Str.).
1899 Vera Bogoslovskaya with her children - Xana and her elder brother Leonid (2 December 1880, Odessa - 1940, Leningrad) went from Odessa to her husband, who served from May 1898 on the Kwantung Peninsula in China.
1902-1903 Xana's father Leonid Ivanovich Bogoslovsky died in hospital of dysentery in the rank of lieutenant colonel (22.07.1902). Almost a year Vera Fyodorovna had been clamouring in Port Arthur for the appointment and recalculation of the military pension, and in the summer 1903 she returned to Russia with her children. They settled in St. Petersburg in Barmaleev Street, and from 1907 in 30, Lakhtinskaya Street. On 1 September 1903, Xana entered the Therese von Oldenburg Female School (36 Kamennoostrovsky av.).
1908 Xana successfully completed the school course and received a certificate (27 May 1908). In the summer 1908 she met Ivan Puni at a dacha her mother rented in Kuokkala.
1909-1910 She attended drawing lessons at the Imperial Academy of Arts, where her cousin Sergey Turkovsky was finishing his studies.
1910-1911 Participated in political activities. Fearing persecution, she married a certain Kolosov and left Russia with him, first to Galicia (Lviv, Carpathians), then to Vienna and from there to Naples. In Naples she entered the Academy of Fine Arts.
1912 In Naples she met Ivan Puni, who was travelling there from Paris (February 1912). Forgetting about Kolosov, she went with Ivan to Capri. Moving to Puni in Paris (March 1912). Soon Ivan left for Russia, and Xana until the end of 1912 attended Parisian public schools (l'Académie russe and Académie de la Grande Chaumière). At the end of 1912 she returned to St. Petersburg under the surname Boguslavskaya.
1913-1956 Ivan and Xana are an inseparable couple.
28 December 1956 Jean Pougny died of a heart attack. Xana buried him (first class) at the Montparnasse cemetery on 2 January 1957.
1957-1958 Organised and held four major retrospective exhibitions of Pougny.
1959 First trip to Moscow and Leningrad (July-August).
1959-1966 Organised and held 14 retrospective exhibitions of Pougny in museums and galleries.
1966 She donated 50 works by Pougny, paintings and graphic works, to the French state. Earlier (1959/1960) she had already donated 12 paintings.
3 Mai 1972 Xenia Boguslavskaya died in Herblay near Paris in the nursing home "Les Erables" (The Maples), where she stayed under the care of her nurse Marguerite Sadeler, who had become her heir.