Isaac Rabinovich

Born: 1894, Kiev
Died: 1961, Moscow

Painter, theatrical and film-set designer, teacher. Born in Kiev to a Jewish painter of signboards called Moisei Rabinovich (1894). Studied at the Kiev School of Art (1906–12) and in the studios of Oleksandr Murashko (1912–15) and Alexandra Exter (1917–18) in Kiev. Worked for the theatre (from 1911), collaborating with Nikolai Yevreinov at the Bi-ba-bo cabaret bar in Petrograd (1917) and Alexander Tyshler on Kote Marjanishvili’s production of Lope de Vega’s play Fuenteovejuna at the Second Lenin Drama Theatre of the Ukrainian SSR (former Nikolai Solovtsov Theatre) in Kiev (1919). Painted posters and decorated agitprop trains during the Civil War (1918–20). Moved to Kharkiv (1920) and Moscow (1920), where he taught painting at the VKhUTEIN (1926–30) and worked under Alexandra Exter on the layout of pavilions at the First All-Russian Exhibition of Agriculture, Handicrafts and Industry (1923). Designed the sets for Yakov Protozanov’s silent movies Aelita: The Queen of Mars (1924), The Three Million Trial (1926) and The White Eagle (1928). Designed the sets and costumes for performances of Anton Chekhov’s play The Wedding at the Third Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre (1920), Abraham Goldfaden’s play Di Kishefmakhern at the Jewish Chamber Theatre (1922), Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata at the Musical Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre (1923), Sergei Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges at the Bolshoi Theatre (1927), Richard Strauss’s opera Till Eulenspiegel at the Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre of Music (1931), Peretz Markish’s play Earth at the State Jewish Theatre (1931), Peter Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin at the Bolshoi Theatre (1933), Lev Slavin’s play Intervention at the Yevgeny Vakhtangov Theatre (1933) and Peter Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Sleeping Beauty at the Bolshoi Theatre (1936). Designed interiors and stained-glass windows for the Palace of the Soviets (1939–48) and a mosaic for the Baumanskaya underground station (1947). Principal designer of the Yevgeny Vakhtangov Theatre (from 1955), where he worked on a production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1958). Died in Moscow and buried at the Armenian Cemetery (1961). Contributed to the Ring exhibition in Kiev (1914). Honoured Artist of the RSFSR (1936).

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