Leonid Usaitis

Born: 1924
Died: 1984, Moscow

Painter, sculptor, cartoon designer. Born in the family of Alexander Usaitis (7 September 1924). Graduated from eighth-grade school. Studied for three years at the 1905 School of Art in Moscow. Studies interrupted by the Second World War (1941). Owing to the arrest of his father (1937) conscripted into the labour army as the son of an “enemy of the people”. Worked in the Urals. Moved to Karaganda to join his widowed mother (1948). His father died serving his sentence in Karlag and was posthumously rehabilitated (1956). Worked as an artist for the Karaganda branch of the Kazakhstan Department of Fine Art and Giproshakht. Published caricatures under the pseudonym of Leonov in Socialist Karaganda. Worked as a theatrical actor, painter and sculptor. Helped to decorate the Karaganda Railway Station. Finished evening school in Karaganda (1956). Graduated with honours from the Vasily Surikov Institute of Art in Moscow (1962). Illustrated Nikolai Nekrasov’s General Toptygin and Ivan Turgenev’s Mumu for the Children’s Publishing House when he was still a student. Artistic editor of the Diafilm Studios in Moscow (1964–69). Drew such cartoons as Who Will Rise First and The Astrologer. Suffered health problems (1969). Member of the Union of Artists (1978). Spent the last years of his life in Moscow, working in the open air and travelling. Died in Moscow (9 June 1984). Three-day posthumous one-man show at the Central Exhibition Hall on Kuznechny Most in Moscow (1985).

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