Ilya Repin, Ukrainian painter and the Commune of Paris


Patrick Le Trehondat

February 7, 2023

The Ukrainian painter Ilya Repin (1844-1930) is presented as a Russian painter in American and French museums. During an exhibition dedicated to him in 2021-2022 at the Petit-Palais, the catalog published for the occasion presented him as the "most famous Russian painter of the 19th century". A Russian colonization of the painter, still present on the museum website. Other websites mumble the same nonsense.

Repin was born in Chuhouiv, near Kharkiv. During his second stay in Paris, in 1883, he attended the annual rally in front of the Mur des Fédérés in homage to the fighters of the Commune, shot in May 1871 by the army. Repin was very impressed and moved by this popular commemoration. He was thirty-nine years old. He drew some sketches for the beautiful colorful picture he later painted in his studio. That painting is now in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Asking for his return to Ukraine would be legitimate.