History of AVS Gallery

Alexey von Schlippe, Woman with Still Life, undated. Oil on canvas.


The Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art was founded in 1992 at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point. Named for Avery Point's beloved art professor, Alexey von Schlippe (1915-1988). The Gallery occupies several rooms on the second floor of the historic Branford House Mansion.


Alexey von Schlippe


Alexey von Schlippe was born in Moscow in 1915 into the family of a minister in Czar Nicholas II's court. Fleeing the Russian Revolution, his family escaped to Finland in 1920 and later moved to Germany. Alexey was educated at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts, and pursued his career as an artist in Germany until he departed for the United States in 1948. He lived first in Wisconsin, and then in New York before settling in Connecticut In 1954, he renounced his title as a Russian baron, and became a US citizen. He taught painting and art history at the Norwich Free Academy from 1955 to 1963. Von Schlippe became the first full-time professor at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus, serving from 1963 to 1982. He died in Munich, Germany in 1988.

Von Schlippe was a prolific and innovative painter, and the von Schlippe family, who live in Germany, have loaned a select group of his works to the university, including portraits, landscape and still life. These are exhibited in the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery, dedicated to his memory and housed in the Branford House mansion on the Avery Point campus.

Alexey von Schlippe's paintings though representational, often include elements of abstraction and surrealism. Paintings such a Woman with Still Life and Reclining Woman with One Sock are striking in their unique treatment of fundamental ambiguities relating to the way objects and human figures occupy space.

Helmut Nickel, former curator of arms and armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, described von Schlippe's art as follows: "...based on traditional forms rooted in his European and specifically Russian heritage, [von Schlippe's work] reflects his wide-ranging personal experience of the vagaries of life; it shows the glow of early Quattrocento masters permeated with the hieratic austerity of Byzantine icons. A subtle blending of realism and abstraction is particularly evident in his landscapes, which go far beyond mere design in their human evaluation of nature..There is a striking combination of modern view and traditional aesthetics in Alexey von Schlippe's [work] that interprets the past with a fresh and individual vision."



AVS History Project

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