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  • Painter V.P.-Tch. is perhaps the most mysterious figure of all Russian-speaking émigré painters who lived in Constantinople in the 1920s. Until now, almost all sources indicated only his initials.
  • V.P.-Tch.
  • В.П.-Ч., В. П. Ч., Виктор Викторович Прокопович-Чарторыйский, V. P. T., V. P. Tch., Viktor Prokopovich-Czartoryski, Viktor Prokopovich-Tchartoryski

  • 1896
  • PainterScene DesignerMuralist
  • Painter V.P.-Tch. is perhaps the most mysterious figure of all Russian-speaking émigré painters who lived in Constantinople in the 1920s. Until now, almost all sources indicated only his initials.

    Word Count: 31

  • V.P.-Tch. (Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac, 1928, n.p.).
  • Painter V.P.-Tch. is perhaps the most mysterious figure of all Russian-speaking émigré painters who lived in Constantinople in the 1920s. Until now, almost all sources indicated only his initials, but from a newspaper article of 1926, according to which the director of Academy/School of Fine Arts in Istanbul at the time, Nazmi Ziya Güran, expressed a desire to personally get acquainted with the talented young émigré artist Prince Prokopovich-Czartoryski, it is clear that the artist bore the last name Prokopovich-Czartoryski. This name appears on the list of participants in the White Movement in Russia. Here is the complete record: “Prokopovich (Czartoryski, prince) Viktor Viktorovich, b. 1896. In the Armed Forces of the South of Russia. Evacuated from Novorossiysk by the ship Vladimir at the beginning of 1920.”
    As for the artist's Russian past, we only know that he is from a noble (most likely Polish) family and that he served in the armed forces until he was evacuated in 1920. Apparently, he arrived in Istanbul from Novorossiysk, and it is worth noting that he did not leave the city after a year or two, as many other émigré artists did. It is possible that he was delayed by some problems, but sources say that the artist was successful in Istanbul, which means that the decision to stay longer was probably of his own free will. To give an example: Prokopovich-Czartoryski's works not only attracted great interest among local collectors but were also sold in Paris, London, Copenhagen and Cairo. His famous work entitled Legendary Heroes of the East was bought by an Egyptian princess.
    The first mention of the artist's activities in Istanbul can be found in a newspaper article dated 29 June 1923. This article reports on one of the last exhibitions of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, which took place at a YMCA, in Pera/Beyoğlu. This is how journalists commented on the works of V.P.-Tch: “The works of Mr. V.P.-Tch., Blanc et Noir, are very interesting in their realisation, in the patterns of Turkish ornamentation and in design. Everything in the drawings is deliberately exaggerated" (Ted’, “K Vystavke Hudojnikov”, 1923). The same works were later used in the famous Rose Noire cabaret. In 1925, V.P.-Tch. hosted an event there that was long remembered by its visitors. He created an oriental performance that had the form of a number of living pictures against the backdrop of stylish Blanc et Noir decorations. It is interesting to note that some of these living pictures were accompanied by choreographed “illustrations”, and that all costumes for the dancers were also created by V.P.-Tch. In the Russian press of Istanbul, the following was said about this event: “Talented ballerina E. Vorobyova staged the ancient Persian ballet in the second Blanc et Noir living picture and also performed in a special living picture named Salome with the dance of Salome. The decorations of the living pictures attracted attention due to the style and richness of their ornaments (door, carpets, etc.)” (Anonymous, “Blanc et Noir”, 1925). V.P.-Tch. also successfully painted murals. This is confirmed by the information in the almanac Les Russes sur le Bosphore: “Numerous panels that adorn a number of halls of Constantinople were painted by the artist in various styles and in each individual case quite uniquely, without a hint of commonplaceness or theatrics. Here is the whimsical Chinese panel (Rose Noire), here is the Scheherazade with inner splendour [this mural was created at the Scheherazade restaurant that belonged to the KKK Club]  — not with the help of “eastern props”, but in a wealth of colours and lines [...]”.
    This note in the almanac contains a lot of information about the artist's work. The author of this remark emphasises the "impressionist artist" having "a clear inclination towards symbolism, where saturation with mysticism goes hand in hand with the quality of forms and colours" (as an example, he mentions the cycle Apocalypse). He also claims that, along with the fairy tale Russian themes, he very often resorted to oriental themes, be it Moorish or Chinese. Furthermore, according to him, the artist "had a poetic perception of the eastern world, was not afraid of contrasts and dissonances, and, on the contrary, even boldly addressed contradictions by harmoniously containing them within the framework of his compositions" (Bournakine 1928, n.p.).

    Word Count: 721

  • V.P.-Tch. (Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac, 1928, n.p.).
    Chagrin de printemps, by V.P.-Tch. (Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac, 1928, n.p.).
    Marchand de tapis, by V.P.-Tch. (Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac, 1928, n.p.).
  • Anonymous. “Blanc et Noir.” Zarubejniy Klich, 1925, p. 10.

    Bournakine, Anatoliy, editor. Russkiye na Bosfore. Les Russes sur le Bosphore. Imp. L. Babok & fils, 1928.

    Knorrin, L. “Na Puti Sblijeniya Turetskogo i Russkogo Iskusstv.” Presse du Soir, 24 April 1926, n.p.  

    Ted’. “K Vystavke Hudojnikov.” Presse du Soir, 29 June 1923, n.p.

    Volkov, S.V. “Uchastniki Belogo Dvijeniya v Rossii.” погибшие.рф, https://xn--90adhkb6ag0f.xn--p1ai/arhiv/uchastniki-grazhdanskoj-vojny/uchastniki-belogo-dvizheniya-v-rossii/uchastniki-belogo-dvizheniya-v-rossii-pr-pya.html. Accessed 9 May 2020.

    Word Count: 70

  • My deepest thanks go to Neslihan Yalav (Istanbul Çelik Gülersoy Library).

    Word Count: 12

  • Ekaterina Aygün
  • Istanbul, Ottoman Empire/Turkey (1920–?); France (most likely).

  • Küçük Yazıcı 4 (now presumably Tarlabaşı Blv. 79), Hüseyinağa, Beyoğlu, Istanbul (studio); Rose Noire Café-Cabaret, Grand Rue de Pera 146 (now Circle d’Orient, İstiklal Caddesi 56/58), Beyoğlu, Istanbul (place of work).

  • Istanbul
  • Ekaterina Aygün. "V.P.-Tch.." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 14-09-2021.
  • Les Russes sur le Bosphore

    The almanac Les Russes sur le Bosphore is a joint work of Russian-speaking émigrés in Istanbul who were faced with the challenge of leaving the country or becoming naturalised.

    Word Count: 30

    Konstantinopol’skiy Kommercheskiy Klub

    KKK was probably the most popular Russian club in Beyoğlu district between 1924 and 1926. Not only Russian émigrés but also local residents could enjoy its constantly updated entertainment programme.

    Word Count: 30

    Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople

    The Union existed for less than two years but in that short space of time a tremendous amount of work was done by its members, refugees from the Russian Empire.

    Word Count: 30