Griliches, Avenir

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GRILICHES, AVENIR (1822–1905), Russian engraver. Griliches was born in Vilna. He was self-taught and attracted attention by engraving a striking resemblance of the czar. In 1871 he became one of the few Jews permitted to stay in St. Petersburg, where he was employed by the Imperial Mint. In 1889 and 1898 Griliches was listed officially as mint engraver at St. Petersburg. He is credited with engraving the state seals of Alexander iii and Nicholas ii, as well as the five ruble, one ruble, half ruble, and twenty kopeck coins. He produced some of the most distinguished Russian commemorative medals of the 1880s and 1890s. His son abraham (1852–c. 1916), also born in Vilna, graduated from the rabbinical school and painters studio there, and then from the St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts in 1876. He was employed as an engraver at the Imperial Mint. Raised to the position of senior engraver, he is credited with striking some dies of the coinage of Nicholas ii, as well as the 1912 Alexander iii commemorative medal. Abraham Griliches was even more noted for his medals, for which he received awards at the Paris Exposition in 1889 and 1900. He was also an excellent gem engraver. Many of his works are kept in the State Hermitage Museum and other museums in Russia.

[Daniel M. Friedenberg]