Grיgoire Michonze was a Russian-French painter, born in Kishinev (Bessarabia), Russia. From 1919-1922, Michonze studied at a local art academy where, painting Russian icons, he learned to master the technique of painting with egg tempera.
He continued his studies at the Academy of Painting in Bucharest and befriended the artist Victor Brauner. In 1922, Michonze moved to Paris and met Max Ernst who later introduced him to the Surrealists, notably Andrי Breton, Paul ֹluard, Yves Tanguy and Andrי Masson. He furthered his art studies by taking classes at the ֹcole des Beaux-Arts.
During this period, Michonze met and developed a strong friendship with the Jewish ֹcole de Paris artist Chaim Soutine. Between the period 1934-1936, Michonze exhibited at the Salon des Surindיpendants. He described his work at these exhibitions as "Surreal naturalism".
From 1954-1977, Michonze continued and perfected his life's work. He had extended stays in the United States where he spent time with his close friend, the American author Henry Miller. Michonze also travelled frequently to Israel where he exhibited, visited with his mother, and re-acquainted himself with his Jewish roots. He died of a heart attack in his studio at rue de Seine in Paris on December 29, 1982.
Michonze is primarily known as a landscape and figurative artist. A marked majority of his paintings include depictions of groups of people - families, villagers, peasants, children - and most works evince an allegory or narrative of some kind. Each work is imbued with mystery, a sort of hidden dialogue that enhances the appeal of the work and piques the viewer's curiosity.