Mstislav Valerianovich Dobuzhinsky

1875 - 1957 / wikipedia
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Mstislav Valerianovich Dobuzhinsky or Dobujinsky (Lithuanian: Mstislavas Dobužinskis, Aug. 14, 1875, Novgorod – Nov. 20, 1957, New York City) was a Russian-Lithuanian artist noted for his cityscapes conveying the explosive growth and decay of the early 20th-century city.

Of noble Lithuanian extraction, Dobuzhinsky was born in Novgorod into the family of an army officer. From 1885 to 1887, he attended the Drawing School of the Society for the Promotion of the Artists. Between 1895 and 1899, he read Law at the University of St. Petersburg, simultaneously studying in private studios. After graduating from the University, he was trained from 1899 to 1901 by Anton Ažbe in Munich and Simon Hollósy in Nagybánya (Austria-Hungary). In Munich, he came to be influenced by the Jugendstil. On his return to Russia, he joined the Mir Iskusstva, an artistic circle which idealized the 18th century as the "age of elegance".

Dobuzhinsky was distinguished from other miriskusniki by his expressionist manner and keen interest in modern industrial cityscapes. He often painted seedy or tragic scenes from urban life which expressed the nightmarish bleakness and loneliness of modern times. Among his works were also humorous vignettes and sketches with demon-like creatures which seemed to embody the monstrosities of urbanization.

Like other members of the Mir iskusstva, Dobuzhinsky also experimented with scenic design. At first he worked for Constantin Stanislavski at the Moscow Arts Theatre, but later on also contributed sets to several Diaghilev productions. He was renowned as an excellent art teacher; among his young pupils was Vladimir Nabokov, with whom he maintained correspondence for decades.

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He spent the last 10 years of his life in Europe, occasionally returning to New York for theatrical work. He died in New York on November 20, 1957. His memoirs were published posthumously in Russian.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mstislav_Dobuzhinsky)
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Suzan Hamer

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