Mstislav Valerianovich Dobouzhinsky (1875-1957)
signed, oil on artist's board
Prominent member of the World of Art, and one of the greatest Russian draughtsmen, Dobouzhinsky was born in Novgorod and studied drawing at the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts in St. Petersburg (1885-7). Two years later, he left for Munich in order to study privately in the studios of A. Ajhbe and Sh. Kholoshi. Taught drawing at the Imperial Academy (1813-24) and in numerous other schools in St. Petersburg, Kaunas and Vitebsk; amongst his pupils was Marc Chagall to whom he consistently gave poor marks! In 1924, Dobouzhinsky left Russia for Lithuania, and eventually settling in Paris, London and New York where he died. Dobouzhinsky worked primarily for the theatre but also as a book illustrator and oil painter. He was most productive. But it is particularly his drawings, of urban landscapes of the 10's and 20's that are outstanding. No other World of Art painter left behind such a convincing portrait of their beloved St. Petersburg, nor infused it with such a prophetic sense of melancholy.