Georgy Narbut

Born: 1886, Narbutovka (Chernihiv Province)
Died: 1920, Kiev

Graphic artist, painter, illustrator, silhouette artist, teacher. Elder brother of the Acmeist poet Vladimir Narbut (1888–1938). Born to Ivan Narbut (impoverished member of the old Lithuanian nobility) and Neonila Makhnovich (priest’s daughter) at the family estate of Narbutovka in the Ukraine (1886). Attended grammar school in the nearby town of Glukhov (1896–1906) and moved with his brother Vladimir to St Petersburg (1906), where they rented rooms from Ivan Bilibin. Studied at the Faculties of Oriental Languages and Philology of St Petersburg University (1906–09), under Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Léon Bakst and Konstantin Somov at the Elizaveta Zvantseva School of Painting and Drawing in St Petersburg (1907–09) and at Simon Hollósy’s school in Munich (1910). Returned to St Petersburg (1910), where he collaborated with such magazines as Apollo (from 1910), Heraldry (1913–15) and Lucomoria (1914–16). Illustrated Vasily Zhukovsky’s How the Mice Buried the Cat (1910), Dance, Matvei, Don’t Spare Your Bast Sandals (1910), Toys (1911), fables of Ivan Krylov (1911–13) and Hans Christian Andersen’s The Nightingale (1912). Designed the layouts of The Russian Icon published by Sergei Makovsky in Petrograd (1913–14), Galicia in Olden Times: Essays on the History of the Architecture (12th to 17th Centuries) published by Golicke & Wilborg in Petrograd (1915) and The Old Estates of Kharkiv Province published by Count Nikolai Kleinmichel in Petrograd (1917). Married Vera Kiryakova (1913). Member of the World of Art (1915, secretary from 1916). Moved to Kiev (1917), where he divorced his wife and married Natalia Modzalevskaya (1918). Professor (1917) and rector (1918) of the Academy of Arts of the Ukraine. Designed the banknotes and postage stamps of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (1917–18) and the Ukrainian Hetmanate (1918). Illustrated The Ukrainian Alphabet (1917–18) and Ivan Kotlyarevsky’s parody of Virgil’s Aeneid (1917–19). Worked for IZO Narkompros (1919) and collaborated with such magazines as Art, Our Past, Daybreak, The Sun of Labour and The National Economy of the Ukraine (1919–20). Died in Kiev following a gallstone operation and buried at Baikovo Cemetery (1920). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1906). Contributed to the exhibitions of the New Society of Artists (1908–10), Union of Russian Artists (1909, 1910), World of Art (1911, 1912, 1915, 1916), Weltausstellung für das gesamte Buchgewerbe und die graphischen Künste in Leipzig (1914), Exposition d’art russe: Ancien et Moderne at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (1928) and a posthumous one-man show in Kiev (1926).

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