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Pierre Trofimoff was born October 20, 1925 in Marseille in a very traditional bourgeois family, distant Polish origin. Very early, he declares a desire to become a painter. At 10, he entered the Melizan Institute in Marseille. His teenage vacation, he spent them in the house of his grandmother in Revest-les-Eaux near Toulon. In the countryside, he observes many artists drawing or painting on the motif, like the painter Eugène Baboulène and the sculptor Dionisi. Later, he will meet on the same place the engraver Decaris. Little encouraged by his family in his vocation, he was denied entry to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Marseille. However, he will go there as a free listener every Thursday
It's the war. He is an inveterate museum-goer and deprives himself of cinema to buy books of Art. He likes Puget, Loubon, Delacroix, Courbet. Later Van Gogh, Soutine, Modigliani, Leprin, Pascin, Marquet, Dufu, Braque and Verdilhan by which he will be influenced.
At the end of the war, Trofimoff works as a leather and hides broker. But simultaneously, he works his painting. He paints a lot in the company of Pierre Gontard and often goes to Meiffren's studio, cours Estienne d'Orves. There, the poet Boissin, the painters Jammes, Helene Martin and the actors of the troupe of the Galion d'Or meet. Trofimoff also meets Louis Pons, Raffaelli, Pierre Ambrogiani and Antoine Ferrari. But above all, he gets in touch with the art critic and poet Alex Toursky. He also likes Kundera.
In 1950, he organized with Jean Arène, the first Salon of the under thirty years. Participate, among others, Arena, Trabuc, Fabre and Soichot. This event leads to invitations to selections of young painting in Nice and Menton. Trofimoff is exhibited in galleries in Marseille, Toulon, Avignon, ... The bourgeois patrons of the time are interested in his work and acquire his works. Criticism supports him and his friends.
" Despite his lack of publicity concern, Trofimoff was exhibited during his lifetime in Paris, Nice, Avignon, the Biennial of Menton, the museum of Toulon, in many galleries of Provence, but also in the United States. In Japan, in Osaka and Kobe "
From his hikes in the Toulon countryside, Trofimoff has retained the taste of the motive. At his parents' home, rue Combalat, he spends hours behind a window. He then painted those windows that were "his scales". He also paints the streets, the houses, the Estrangin Square under the snow. He is 23 and 24 years old. His painting is very gray, very dark. He uses prussian blue, scorched Sienna, yellow ocher ... His desire for construction is evident from this early period. As well as his need to make the most of the same theme: windows, streets, railway stations. Then comes the series of interiors: doors, corridors, dining rooms. His painting becomes intimate, but remains dark. Technically, these paintings are very drawn, very built, with many verticals. The chromaticism is characterized by whites, beautiful grays, blacks and browns. Trofimoff escapes from these houses and streets to paint the Old Port, the landscapes of Allauch, Aubagne, and the Revest countryside where he often returns.
Around 1958, Trofimoff devoted himself to still life. He paints his objects as he would paint characters. And when he says "objects speak to me", we understand that they are not words in the air.
Cruel moments will give rise to another period of the painter: the one he calls his "Way of the Cross". Between 1959 and 1962, he lost his brother, killed in Algeria, four cousins and his uncle. All in a brutal way. Pain, confusion, anguish. He moves to Dardenne in a stable of the 9th century. From this retreat, he paints compositions with muted tones, some of which flirt with the abstract. The colors retain their ranges of gray and especially brown.
Trofimoff leaves his retirement and reconnects with nature. And he gets married. The color takes possession of his painting, unless it is the opposite, as a long-desired woman. It's a passionate mating: "Color, for me, is a conquest," he says. The series of the House of the Beautiful Girls, the carnival scenes come to celebrate this union. These paintings are truly wild, with reds and yellows bright, vibrant, triumphant. The writing feels like this burst, it becomes even more free in some paintings. Fairings, harbors, bring back Trofimoff to a more rigid drawing where the concern of construction, always present in his works, takes again all its importance.
Other paintings: "Facade of the hamlet bar", "The garden of orange trees", "The house of Madame Pomet", testify to a certain relationship with Mathieu Verdilhan. No mystery: Trofimoff feels the same attraction as Verdilhan for the robustness, the purification of forms, the richness of the material.
Despite his lack of advertising concern and his temperament far from fashion circles, Trofimoff was exhibited during his lifetime in Paris, Nice, Avignon, the Biennial of Menton, the Toulon Museum, in many Provencal galleries. But also in the United States, Japan in Osaka and Kobe.
Pierre Trofimoff died in 1996. He painted all his life, as a free man, who wants to enjoy his painting.
(source: "Trofimoff", Jacqueline de Grandmaison, Editions Vision on the Arts, Béziers, 1978)
Cantini Museum, Marseille
Museu of Arles
Museum of Art of Toulon
Méditerranan Museum of Cassis
Museum of de Saint-Tropez
Museum of Narbonne