Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015646, Mon, 5 Nov 2007 16:13:28 -0500

among his young pupils was Vladimir Nabokov ...

Art by Mstislav

by Mstislav Dobuzhinsky
28 JPG - 800x600 - 1 Mb

*Mstislav Valerianovich
Dobujinsky Lithuanian: Mstislavas Dobužinskis (2 August 1875, Novgorod

20 November 1957, New York City) was a Russian-Lithuanian artist noted for
cityscapes conveying the explosive growth and decay of the early
twentieth-century city.

Of noble Lithuanian extraction, Dobuzhinsky finished Second Men's Gymnasium
in Vilnius, later was educated in St Petersburg, Nagybanya and Munich, where
he came to be influenced by the Jugendstil. Having returned to Russia, he
joined the Mir iskusstva, an artistic circle which idealized the late 19th
and early 20th centuries as a golden age of Russian cultural achievement.
Dobuzhinsky was distinguished from other miriskusniki by his expressionist
manner and keen interest in modern industrial cityscape. 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 experimented with
scenic design. At first he worked for Constantin Stanislavski at the Moscow
Arts Theatre, but later contributed sets to several Diaghilev productions as
well. He also gained renown as an excellent art teacher; among his young
pupils was Vladimir Nabokov, with whom he maintained correspondence for

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Dobuzhinsky followed the advice of
Jurgis Baltrusaitis and withdrew to Lithuania. He was naturalized there in
1924 and lived in Kaunas until 1925, and later 1929-1939, when he emigrated
to England and later to USA. In Lithuania he was working in State Theatre as
scenographer and created scenography for 38 plays, held his private painting
school (1930-1933).

1925-1929 he worked in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Duseldorf theatres.

Among his later works are series of masterful and dramatic illustrations,
notably for Dostoyevsky's White Nights (1923) and Yuri Olesha's Three Fat
Men (1925).

During the World War II, Dobuzhinsky painted imaginary landscapes of
besieged Leningrad. His memoirs were published posthumously.

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