Leonid Pasternak

Born: 1862, Odessa
Died: 1945, Oxford

Painter, graphic artist, illustrator, teacher. Father of Boris Pasternak. Born Yitzhok-Leib Pasternak to the owner of a Jewish guesthouse in Odessa (1862). Studied at the Odessa School of Drawing (1879–81), Faculty of Medicine of Moscow University (1881–82), Yevgraf Sorokin’s studio in Moscow (1881–82), Faculty of Law of Novorossiisk University in Odessa (1882–85), under Ludwig von Herterich and Alexander von Liezen-Mayer at the Königliche Akademie der Künste in Munich (1882–85, 1887) and etching under Ivan Shishkin (1886). Served in the Russian army (1887–89). Married the pianist Rosalia Kaufmann in Odessa (1889). Moved to Moscow (1889), where he opened a private school of drawing (1889–94) and taught at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture/State Free Art Studios/VKhUTEMAS (1894–1921). Worked in an Impressionist style, painting interior family scenes in oil, watercolour and coloured chalk. Illustrated Leo Tolstoy’s novels War and Peace (1892–93) and Resurrection (1898–99) and painted portraits of Leo Tolstoy (1901), Maxim Gorky (1906), Alexander Scriabin (1909), Lev Shestov (1910), Fyodor Chaliapin (1912), Edward Gordon Craig (1912), Sergei Rachmaninoff (1913) and Vladimir Lenin (1921). Founding member of the Union of Russian Artists (1903–17). Visited Germany and Italy (1904), Berlin (1906), Holland, Belgium and Great Britain (1908) and Venice (1912). Academician of painting (1905). Travelled to Berlin with his wife and two daughters for an eye operation, leaving his sons Boris and Alexander behind in Russia (1921). Decided to remain in Germany, where his eyesight improved and he painted views of Berlin and portraits of Alexei Remizov, Albert Einstein, Rainer Maria Rilke, Max Liebermann and Gerhart Hauptmann (1920s). Published a book on Rembrandt and the Jews in his art (1923) and joined Alexander Kogan’s expedition to Palestine, where he drew pictures of sites and local people (1924). Took refuge from the Nazis in London (1938), moving to Oxford after the death of his wife (1939). Died in Oxford and buried at Wolvercote Cemetery (1945). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1888). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Moscow Society of Lovers of the Arts (1888–99), Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1888–97, 1901), Fellowship of South Russian Artists (1894, 1895), 36 Artists (1901, 1902), World of Art (1901–03), Union of Russian Artists (1903–18), Pan-Russian Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod (1896), international exhibition in Munich (1894, gold medal), Exposition Universelle in Paris (1900), Berlin Sezession (1923), exhibitions of Russian art in Paris, The Hague, Berlin and the United States (1920s), Russian Art and Life at Hove Museum (1961), Paris-Moscou (1900–1930) at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1979) and Moscow-Paris (1900–1930) at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (1981). One-man shows at the Galerie Hartberg in Berlin (1927, 1932) and posthumous exhibitions at the Pushkin House, London (1958), Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (1958, 1990, 1999), City Gallery, Lenbachhaus, Munich/City Art Gallery and Museum, Bristol/Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry (1962), Museum of Private Collections, Moscow/Oxford University Press, Ely House, London/Westfield College, London (1969), Von Maltzahn Gallery, London (1974), Crawford Centre for the Arts/University of St Andrews/Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield/MacRobert Art Gallery, Stirling/Talbot Rice Art Centre, Edinburgh (1978), Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (1979, 2001), Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1982–83), Ceri Richard Gallery, Taliesin Arts Centre, University College of Swansea (1984), Washington DC/New York/Chicago/Palm Beach/Memphis/St Joseph/Santa Clara/Kansas City (1987–90) and Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield (1994).

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