The majority of these artists left their country after the Revolution of 1917, going through Germany or Belgium, before settling in Paris, a city dreamed of by numerous Russian painters of the time who saw in it a place of liberty and ease of living.
For Paris was indeed the “Capital of the Arts,” the nexus of avant-gardes that followed upon each other from the Realism of Courbet through to the Narrative Figuration of the 1970s. These avant-garde creators, which Paris welcomed, came from all over the world to study, create, and display their work.
The art that they created became international and universal, so much so that they were grouped together under the name “School of Paris,” a movement that erased borders and national references. “There are no foreigners in art,” wrote Brancusi in 1922, underlining the fact that it was impossible to distinguish, in that school, that which the foreign artists borrowed from the French and that which the French borrowed from the foreigners.
A common aesthetic— rejecting academicism, with an abstract tendency— was born from artists of all nationalities, many of whom did not even speak the same language.