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Igor Stravinsky 1882–1971
Igor Stravinsky was almost as striking in person as his powerful musical compositions. The avant-garde composer, whose bitonalities and eccentric rhythms influenced generations of musicians, had oversized features that seemed unsuited to his small head and five-foot, three-inch physique. Rico Lebrun, however, who made this drawing in Los Angeles in 1947 after Stravinsky had moved to California, found power and dignity in Stravinsky's profile.

Composer and artist were acquaintances in Los Angeles. At the time of this drawing, they were engaged in similar projects: Lebrun had started painting a Crucifixion cycle based on Matthias Grünewald's monumental altarpiece, and Stravinsky was working on a liturgical mass, inspired by Mozart, for the Catholic Church. Both artists reworked traditional forms to emphasize their essential structure and monumentality. As Stravinsky wrote: "The more art is controlled, limited, worked over, the more it is free." Lebrun's charcoal portrait is conceived with minimal detail but powerful effect, much like Stravinsky's music.

Rico Lebrun (1900–1964)
Charcoal on paper, 1947
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
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