Paolo Troubetzkoy was an Italian sculptor and painter, of Russian origin, a member of the Trubeckoj family.
Prince Paul Troubetskoy II was born in Italy, in Verbania-Intra by a Russian father (the diplomat prince Pierre Troubetzkoy) and an American mother, the pianist Ada Winans.
He studied sculpture with Ernesto Bazzaro and Giuseppe Grandi and painting with Daniele Ranzoni, but was largely self-taught.
Polyglot, a member of the Belle Époque international aristocracy who beautifully portrayed in his sculptures, Troubetzkoy worked and resided in Russia (he taught at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in Moscow for nine years, from 1897 to 1906), France (in Paris, where he studied Rodin's work, and where he had won the Grand Prix in 1900), England, USA (first in New York in 1911 and then, since 1914, in Hollywood), as well as in Italy (in Verbania-Pallanza Villa Troubetzkoy still exists, where he returned to live in 1932).
He died in Verbania-Pallanza in 1938.
Noble by birth and rich, Troubetzkoy, while proving to be a skilled impresario of his art, was never found in the need to work as a sculptor to live, nor did he love to mix with contemporary artistic movements. This ended up harming his fame among Italian critics and colleagues, who had a good game of giving him the label, still not dissipated, of "rich amateur".
On the other hand, the economic security allowed him to develop in absolute independence a very personal style, regardless of the requests of gallery owners, let alone the artistic schools of the period, in which it is difficult today to frame it. His sculptural style is made of a nervous "impressionism" (which originates in his youthful proximity to Scapigliatura characters), with rapid spatula gestures on a very liquid plaster, from which the portrait "takes shape" in the part of the vertex containing the face, where gestures slow down and the features emerge from a kind of mist, due to the constant choice of the "non-infinite" in the treatment of surfaces.
A sculptor of a sculpture that privileged the intimist and daily aspects, sometimes with a rather melancholic traits, Troubetzkoy had difficulty in seeing his skills in Italy recognized by public clients. This is why his larger works are located abroad, or have remained in the preparatory state of plaster casts. These plaster casts can now be easily admired because he left him, at his death, at the Verbania-Pallanza Landscape Museum, which reserves an entire floor for the exhibition of the Troubetzkoy Gipsoteca.