Alexander Alexandrovich Polovtsov

Portrait of Alexander Alexandrovich Polovtsov, Russia

Russian diplomat, ethnographer
Born: 1867, St. Petersburg
Died: February 12, 1944, Paris

Alexander Alexandrovich Polovtsov was a Russian diplomat, ethnographer, and expert on Oriental art. He studied law at the Imperial Legal College in St. Petersburg and, after serving in the Horse Guards, went to work for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, moving to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the end of the 1890s. Throughout his career, Polovtsov was a keen art collector, and he helped to organize the museum of art in the Baron Stieglitz Art College, founded by his father-in-law.

Polovtsov was Consul General of Russia in Bombay 1906-1907, and then went to the Urals to develop the metallurgy industry. With the outbreak of the First World War returned to the civil service, and was appointed Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs in 1916. In 1917 he took over the directorship of the Baron Stieglitz Museum and Art College, and in Novemeber 1917 he became the first director of the Pavlovsk Palace Museum. During the first year of Soviet rule, Polovtsov helped to preserve the artworks and treasures of the old regime, but in 1918 he crossed the Finnish border on foot and made his way to France. He settled in Paris and opened an antique shop. Polovtsov died in Paris in 1944 and is buried in the Sainte Genevieve des Bois Russian Cemetery.