The works by artists belonging to the Russian Diaspora in the United States include the remarkable geometric abstractions by Ilya Bolotowsky, suprematist compositions by the Lasuchin brothers, urban landscapes by Serge Hollerbach, ‘grotesques’ by Ivan Garikow, portraits by Eugene Klimoff, paintings by Veronica Gashurova, George Bobritzky, Anatoly Gorokhovets, Slava Ilachinski, Galina S Pendill, Vladimir Shatalow. They showcase the strikingly varied artistic life of “Russian America” and give a glimpse of the artistic collection and the museum concept of the Solzhenitsyn House for the Russian Diaspora.
Naturally, a single exhibition cannot give a comprehensive picture of all of the artists of Russian origin whose artistic careers peaked in the United States. Therefore, the primary objective of the organizers of the exhibition was to provide a panoramic review of the motley and contradictory phenomenon of Russian artistic emigration, present those artists who are still little known in Russia and show the way dialogue between the ‘native’ and ‘universal’ progresses in various artistic languages and different imaginative environments.
Despite the diversity of genres and styles of the displayed works — from academic painting to abstract geometric patterns, suprematist compositions and postmodern ‘associations’ — all of them are united by the similarity of the fates of their creators. Products of artistic emigration, they have been transferred to Russia in recent years through efforts of the artists, their families and private donors, to lay the foundation of the permanently growing collection of the Solzhenitsyn House for the Russian Diaspora.
Their authors are for the most part ‘second wave emigrants’, who are known a lot less in contemporary Russia than those who left the country immediately after the revolution, fleeing from the ‘Red terror’ and the ideological dictate of the new regime. In the 1940s-1950s, most of the emigrants were people who had survived the occupation, prison camps, compulsory labor, and Nazi concentration camps, and miraculously escaped forced repatriation and Soviet camps.
Doomed to a life without homes for years, if not decades, they were people with no residence, no citizenship — displaced persons (DPs) — who became the main protagonists of post-war European culture, as Hannah Arendt wrote.
Virtually all artists whose works are presented at the exhibition are DPs. Right after the war, nearly all of them found themselves at displaced persons camps, amidst Soviet prisoners of war, Ostarbeiters and former subjects of the Russian Empire scattered all around Europe.
“The position of approximately 1 million DPs, n Germany was thr problem of post-war Europe. It should be borne in mind that the majority of DPs - hardworking and thoughtful people .... I was surprised by their ability to use their position for teaching, work and self-improvement. ”
When the war began, they were very young, and after all the circles of ‘Dante's Inferno’ of war and post- war rambling, they were supposed to eventually discover ‘an unknown country’ to embrace through their creativity whatever that new culture had to offer and find their own unique voice.
The meeting with the New World, where the distinct cultural phenomenon of ‘Russian America’ had been developing since the 1920s, opened up unprecedented opportunities while presenting a radical challenge: how could they preserve their integrity and association with their cultural origins when learning the new artistic language and absorbing new images and themes? Each of the works displayed at the exhibition can give a precise answer.
Yury (George) Viktorovich Bobritzky
1917, Liubotyn – 1998, Bronxville, New York, United States. A painter, graphic artist, decorator and sculptor. He graduated from Kharkiv Art School and worked as a decorator at the local Opera Theater. During the war, he was deported to Germany. After the war, he found himself in the American zone of occupation and then stayed at a DP camp in Austria from 1945 to 1949. In 1949, he moved to the United States with his wife and daughter and settled in New York.
At the start of the 1950s, he worked for Hilda Newman Studio, a silkscreening shop in New York, which employed a group of artists of Russian origin. He met and befriended Serge Hollerbach, who worked as a printer. It was during those years that George Bobritzky attended the Art Students League of New York, Yasuo Kuniyoshi’s class. At various times, he worked as a sculptor, scenic designer and book illustrator.
His works were displayed in more than 20 national exhibitions, 11 solo exhibitions in the United States — at the Nicholas Roerich Museum New York (1969), the National Arts Club (1976), New Rochelle Public Library (1984), and Harrison Public Library (1987), as well as in Austria and Germany.
George Bobritzky’s paintings and drawings were awarded silver medals of the U.S. National Arts Club in 1965 and 1968. Also in 1968, his works won the gold medal of the annual exhibition at the National Academy of Design (New York). His works are owned by the leading museums of the United States.
Ivan Ivanovich Garikow
1918, Belaya Glina – 26 April 1982, Philadelphia. He was born in the village of Belaya Glina into a traditional peasant family. He finished school in 1937 and enrolled in I. E. Repin Leningrad Art Academy. After graduation, he worked as a scenic designer and lived near Leningrad. Soon after the beginning of the war, he fell prisoner and was sent to an extermination camp. Many years later, he was telling his son that he had gone to great lengths to get a piece of coal from a guard to draw Christ’s face on a cabin wall — this is what probably saved his life: Garikow was soon sent to a labor camp in Krems, Austria. In the spring of 1945, he was transferred to Mauthausen, where he was liberated by American allied troops. After the war, he lived in Salzburg, where he resumed his career of a painter.
In 1951, Ivan Garikow moved to the United States and settled in Philadelphia. Soon his works drew attention of the owner of Newman Galleries, one of the most influential artwork dealers. In 1954, he became member of the Art Talents Association of Philadelphia and in the ensuing years worked for Newman Galleries. His works can be found in art galleries of Washington, Philadelphia and many private collections.
During his later years, he lived a secluded life and only allowed his son to visit him. He kept working very hard and suffered from diseases. His works were saved from oblivion by the head of Eurisko Art, who discovered many works by Ivan Garikow at a warehouse in Florida. Eurisko currently owns 190 of more than 230 paintings created by Garikow throughout his career, and some works are owned by Garikow’s son Arnold.
Born on 18 April 1932 in Kyiv. A textile designer, decorator and painter. In 1943, her family emigrated to the West. After the war, she lived in a DP camp in Schleissheim near Munich for a few years, and then moved to the United States.
In 1954, she graduated from the art school of Pratt Institute in New York. She worked for an American company as a textile designed for many years. In 1989, she enrolled in the art school of the National Academy of Design (New York). She was a student of Serge Hollerbach and calls him a major influence.
She developed textile patterns and designed theatrical sets for a few decades.
In the 1970s, she began drawing greeting cards.
In 1988, she created a set of cards with Christian symbols for the British ‘Aid to Russian Christians.’
In 1992, she donated her drawings for greeting cards to UNICEF. Later, she drew cards for the Congress of Russian American, Metropolitan Opera, and V. P. Tretyakov gallery in St. Petersburg. In 2009, a set of 12 cards by Gashurova was published by St. Petersburg “Sad Iskusstv” printing house.
In 2003 Veronica Gashurova donated three works to the Church on Blood, built on the site, where the royal family were shot.
Her paintings have repeatedly been displayed by the most influential galleries of the United States, including at Lincoln Center, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Russian Art, New Jersey.
Some of her works made part of Yury Ryabov’s collection that was donated to Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
He served in the Red Army during the Civil War. A graduate of Kharkiv Art Institute, he worked for many years as an easel painter and book illustrator, including of children’s books. In 1936, he participated in the creation of a large fresco dedicated to Taras Shevchenko in Kaniv. The fresco was subsequently destroyed.
During WWII, Anatoly Gorokhovets got to Germany, then emigrated to the United States as a refugee in 1951. In the United States, he continued his career as a painter and worked in keeping with the best traditions of Russian realism. Every summer, he went to Massachusetts for sketching. He visited Italy and Paris, and created gouache works in Venice and Rome. However, his career as a painter was not very successful in America.
Anatoly Gorokhovets’ works were on display at several group exhibitions of the Society of Russian Artists in New York. In 1982, the Nicholas Roerich Museum New York played host to a posthumous exhibition of Anatoly Gorokhovets’ works.
Serge Hollerbach called Anatoly Gorokhovets “a landscape painter in the manner of Russian impressionism.”
Lasukhin Michael (1923, Kramatorsk, Ukraine – 2006, Philadelphia, USA) In 1940-1941 studied in Rostov College of Art. In 1941-1943, during the Nazi occupation, remained with his parents in Kramatorsk. In 1943 together with his brother Victor Lasukhin was deported for the forced labor to Germany.
In the end of the WWII both of them got to the DP Camp in Regensburg, where joined to the camp art school founded by the group of artists from all over Europe. In 1950 with support of Tolstoy Foundation the brothers Lazukhin moved to USA and settled in Philadelphia. Michael Lasukhin graduated from Philadelphia College of Art. In 1972 he has taken Master’s degree in Tyler School of Art, Temple University.
Graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art in 1970 and from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 1972, where he received his Master’s degree. He was often tagged by critics as a follower of minimalism, which revived in American art at the end of the 1950s and early 1960s.
Vyacheslav Zavalishin, a prominent New York art expert, called Michael Lasuchin a link between Russian and American suprematism. Art researchers believe that Lasuchin was influenced by Kuindzhi, Roerich, Malevich, Matyushin, but the artist himself said that the thing that he “liked in art the most was to feel what it was like to be a ground breaker.”
Michael Lasuchin’s works are part of 80 public collections in America and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Russian Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery.
His works were displayed at more than fifty solo exhibitions. He participated in more than a hundred national and international exhibitions and was a member of the International Centre for Graphic Design, the American Watercolor Society and the American Color Print Society.
However, Lasuchin always said he belonged to Russian culture: “My dream is to establish myself as a Russian artist, rather than an American artist... Because all my thoughts are not here, but at the ‘distant shores’. My main dream (almost a prayer) is for Russia to get on to its feet. This is what really matters to me.”
Victor Lasukhin (1927, Kramatorsk – 2-13, Philadelphia) In 1943 together with his brother Michael Lasukhin was deported for the forced labor to Germany. In the end of the WWII both of them got to the DP Camp in Regensburg, where joined to the camp art school founded by the group of artists from all over Europe.
In 1946-1947 studied in Nachwuchsgruppe Bildener Künst in Regensburg. In 1950 with support of Tolstoy Foundation the brothers Lazukhin moved to USA and settled in Philadelphia.
Graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and became a freelance artist. He soon enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania, and received his Bachelor’s degree in 1968. Two years later, he received his Master’s degree from Temple University. He taught the basics of composition and since 1970, graphic and computer design.
Victor Lasuchin was member of the American Academy of the Fine Arts and the author of the logo and member of the American Color Print Society.
His works are on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and art museums in Philadelphia, Warsaw, Kraków, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum and many other major museums.
Victor Lasuchin had five successful solo exhibitions in the United States and participated in more than thirty international national displays. Nevertheless, according to Lasuchin, the main thing in art is not success at exhibitions, but the very act of creation — “to create something from nothing...” in order to embody the personality of the artist and “make a gift of yourself to others.”
His abstract paintings are filled with color expression and allegory. The suprematist compositions of the Lasuchin brothers give the viewer a perfect chance to appreciate the variety of the artistic life of ‘Russian America.’
Nee Sultan, Klimenko by first marriage, 5 May 1937, Riga – Tarrytown, New York. An illustrator, translator, public figure.
She was born in Riga, where her grandfather, a Karaite, owned two tobacco stores. After his death, the family was provided for by his youngest son, Galina’s future father. Her father was spared during the Great Purge of 1939–1941, but he was aware that being on NKVD’s lists meant that the entire family would eventually be deported to Siberia. In 1944, the family was forced to move to Germany, and five years later, they moved to the United States.
Galina S. Pendill inherited her artistic talent from her father, an expressive portrait painter. She enrolled in Pratt Institute in New York, one of the leading art schools in the United States, at the age of 17, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree there.
She worked as an illustrator for 20 years. Her drawings appeared in the most popular American newspapers and fashion magazines. When photography began to replace drawn illustrations, Galina S Pendill had to refocus her career. She became a translator from Russian into English in 1974 and founded Russian Interpreting Services (RIS) in the United States in 1990.
At the start of the 1990s, she got back to painting and made her first experiments in sculpture. In 1999–2009, she took drawing lessons from the renowned Spanish artist Luis Ortega. At various times, Galina S Pendill’s works were displayed in major exhibitions, including in Pratt Institute, New York, and Westchester Center for the Arts, and Arsoma Gallery in Washington DC. In 2010, she had three solo exhibitions in the United States.
In 1999, when they retired, Galina and Grant Pendill launched a charity to support Russian physically impaired orphans. In 2005, the program was expanded and transformed into the Pendill Fund. The Fund established partnership relations with the Russian charities Children's Hearts, Children’s Homes, with the Russian Donors Forum and other NGOs that provide financial and social support for Russian children.
Vyacheslav (Slava) Vladimirovich Ilachinski
17 February 1925, Taganrog, USSR – 30 March 2002, Sea Cliff, New York, USA – avant gardist, graphic artist, restorer. Slava Ilachinski showed a talent for drawing at an early age — in June 1939, at the age of 14, he sent his drawings to the regional Young Artist competition and won a diploma. He then won the third prize in a competition of drawings about the heroic Red Army.
In 1940, he moved to Europe with his family. He received a classical art education at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design. Later, he moved to Switzerland and then to Canada. In 1947, he became a U.S. citizen and continued his studies at Long Island University.
After graduation, Slava Ilachiski began to work as a restorer of paintings. That was not only a prestigious, but also a well-paid job, and the artist managed to open his own studio. Slava Ilachiski became a restoration authority and took up important projects. Later, he became involved in figurative painting, and then turned to abstract art.
The works by the artist Slava Ilachiski were praised in the United States: his paintings are part of many private collections and many U.S. museums. His works were displayed at numerous high-profile group and solo exhibitions in the USA.
In his mature age, Slava Ilachiski decided to donate some of his paintings to his native Taganrog. In 2006, under his will, 35 paintings were transferred to the Taganrog Museum of Art. Some of the artist’s drawings and paintings were soon donated by his widow to the Solzhenitsyn House for the Russian Diaspora in Moscow.
Many of his works include abstract paintings and watercolors based on the motives inspired by his travel in the United States, Canada and Russia. The paintings created using various methods amply convey the inner world and talent of the artist. In many paintings by Slava Ilachiski viewers can trace the best traditions of Russian avant- garde.
Eugene Klimoff (Evgenij Evgenievič Klimov)
8 May 1901, Mitau, Courland, Russia — 29 December 1990, on his way from Canada to the USA – painter, graphic artist, icon painter, restorer, art historian, educator.
He was born in the Baltic town of Mitau (currently Jelgava). He showed a talent for painting at quite an early age when he was a student of a secondary school in Petersburg. However, he never graduated — his family fled from the new Communist regime, and he had to finish school in the southern town of Novocherkassk in 1918.
He attended the Don Polytechnic Institute for a year, but dropped out when the Civil War began and volunteered for Navy service. He miraculously remained intact during the events in Sevastopol, when Crimea was seized by Bolsheviks. In 1921, as a native of then independent Latvia, he returned to Riga, where he enrolled in the Art Academy of Latvia. In 1928, he joined an expedition to the Pechora region. Since then, the architecture and icon painting of Pskov had been a cross-cutting theme of his creative career.
Klimoff’s album of lithographs “In the Pechora Land”, published in 1937, became a landmark event in the cultural life of the Russian Diaspora.
In 1940, Eugene Klimoff was appointed head of the Russian history department of the Riga City Museum of Art. In 1942, he visited Pskov as part of the Russian spiritual mission and thought of painting a Trinity icon for the gate niche of the citadel at the entrance of the Trinity Cathedral. After WWII, a German workshop transformed the icon into a mosaic, which is currently located in Pskov.
In 1944, Eugene Klimoff was invited by the Prague N. P. Kondakov Archaeological Institute as an icon restorer. When the Soviet troops invaded Prague, Klimoff moved to the American occupation zone with his family.
He moved to Canada and settled in Quebec in 1949. In Canada, Eugene Klimoff gave painting and drawing lessons, tutored Russian, conducted a course in the history of Russian art, lectured in many cities in Canada and the United States, and wrote for the Russian émigré press.
His main work on art history was the book “Russian Artists” published in 1974, and one of his most significant graphic works of his émigré period was a portrait of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn from life drawn in Montreal on 3 May 1975. The drawing is part of the museum collection of the Solzhenitsyn House for the Russian Diaspora.
Eugene Klimoff was actively involved in exhibitions of Russian art in major European and American cities. His paintings were displayed in 20 solo shows organized in Canada, the United States and Germany at various times. In 1990, his solo exhibition was held in Riga, and in 1989, Eugene Klimoff donated a part of his creative legacy to Russia.
On 29 December 1990, he artist tragically died in a car crash on his way from Montreal to Poughkeepsie (USA). His icons can be seen in churches of Riga, Pskov, Prague, Los Angeles, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. Eugene Klimoff’s paintings and icons are in numerous private collections and museums of Riga, Quebec, Montreal, the Russian Museum and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.
Zinaida Evgenyevna Serebriakova (née Lanceray) (10.12.1884, the estate of Neskuchnoye of Kursk Governorate, Russia – 19.09.1967, Paris, France) —a Russian painter, member of the Mir iskusstva movement, continuator of the Silver Age artistic tradition.
She emigrated in 1924.
My dear Evgenij Evgenievič! We have just received your letter of 29 July and we are glad that this September we will be happy to see you and your wife in Paris!!!
The meeting did not take place: September 19, Z.E.Serebryakova died, was buried at the Russian cemetery in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois.
Tsarskoye Selo — painter, graphic artist and man of letters.
In 1935, Serge Hollerbach’s parents were deported to Voronezh, where he began taking drawing lessons at the art studio of the local House of Pioneers. In 1938, the family came back home. In January 1941, Serge Hollerbach enrolled in the Leningrad Secondary Art School, but only studied for a few months, before the war started.
In 1942, he was removed from the occupied suburb of Leningrad to Germany, and in 1945, he found himself in the American zone of occupation. He studied at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts from 1946 to 1949.
In 1949, Serge Hollerbach moved to the United States and continued his studies at the Art Students League of New York. In America, he worked as a graphic artist and an illustrator who designed the cover of many Russian books and magazines published in the United States.
Serge Hollerbach is member of the editorial board of New Magazine, published in New York. He has authored numerous books and articles in foreign and Russian periodicals.
Serge Hollerbach is a full member of the National Academy of Design, Honorary President of the American Watercolor Society and member of several art associations. He taught painting at the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, New York.
Serge Hollerbach has received numerous awards of many academies and art unions, including the Gold Medal of the American Watercolor Society. His paintings and drawings are part of American, European and Russian collections and museums, including the State Russian Museum, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the museum of the Russian Academy of Arts, the Voronezh Museum of Fine Arts and Nizhny Novgorod State Art Museum, as well as the Solzhenitsyn House for the Russian Diaspora.
Serge Hollerbach’s creative perception of this world can be very precisely described using his own words, which he said at the opening of his solo show arranged by the Russia Abroad Library and Foundation in 2006: “They call me a Russian- born American artist in the United States, whereas in Russia, they call me a Russian artist who lives in America. But I think that I am a Russian who studied in Europe, but lives in America.”
Vladimir Mikhailovich Shatalow
20 July 1917, Belgorod – 23 May 2002, Philadelphia – artist, avant gardist, poet.
A nobleman by birth, Vladimir Shatalow was the son of a White Guard officer. He studied painting at the Dnepropetrovsk Art School, the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts, and the Kyiv State Fine Arts Institute. During WWII, he found himself in Austria and then was sent to a DP camp in Germany (1943).
He moved to Philadelphia in 1951.
As soon as he came to America, Vladimir Shatalow, together with Serge Hollerbach, started working on the creation of the Society of Russian Artists, and were later actively involved in the activities of the association.
Among Shatalow’s most significant works is a gallery of tragic depictions of Nikolai Gogol. Serge Hollerbach wrote: “Volodya painted the Gogol of the burnt second volume of “Dead Souls” — doubting, suffering, guilty— rather than the Gogol of “Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka” or the Gogol of “Mirgorod”.”
Vladimir Shatalow is known as a poet. Together with V. A. Sinkevich, he co-founded the literary and artistic almanac “Encounters” (originally “Crossroads”) and was a member of the editorial board. The publication brought together poets and artists of various waves of Russian emigration.
Vladimir Shatalow co-authored anthologies of poetry of the Russian Diaspora. Vladimir Shatalow was member of the National Academy of Design (currently the National Academy), which comprised 450 members, and member of the Russian Academic Group.
His works were displayed at more than 150 group and solo shows and won over 100 awards, including several gold medals. His works can been seen in many museums, including the San Diego Museum of Art, California, the Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the National Academy of Design in New York, and, during the recent years, in Russia.
Serge Hollerbach characterized Shatalow’s manner as follows: “He took a lot from cubism and American color-field painting, but breathed Russian soul into that Western ‘formalism’.” Therefore, Vladimir Shatalow’s legacy is varied — painting based on the classical Russian tradition, and works that absorbed Western symbols and colors.
An Exhibition “The New World: Rissian American Painters” took place in Alexander Solzhenitsyn Centre of Russian Emigré Studies in Moscow 6 December 2010 – 30 January 2011. The event coincided with celebration of the 15th Anniversary of the Solzhenitsyn Centre. Painters Serge Hollerbach and Veronica Gashurov, whose works were exposed among others, were present at the opening of the Exhibition.
Chief curator — зам. директора по архивно-музейной работе И.Е. Розанова
Curators — Н.П. Белевцева, И.П. Мирошникова
Designer — Е.В. Абаренкова
Editor — С.М. Кокурина