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First Russian émigré artists in Istanbul exhibition

  • Name (text):

    First Russian émigré artists in Istanbul exhibition

    Word Count: 7

  • Name:
    First Russian émigré artists in Istanbul exhibition
  • Kind of Event:
    Exhibition
  • Start Date:
    09-10-1921
  • End Date:
    10-10-1921
  • Introduction:

    The first Russian-speaking émigré artists in Istanbul exhibition was a one-day event but its success led to the formation of the Union and paved the way for other exhibitions.

    Word Count: 29

  • Content:

    The first Russian-speaking émigré artists in Istanbul exhibition was a one-day event, but its success, and the interest it sparked amongst visitors, led to the formation of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople and paved the way for other exhibitions at Mayak. The exhibition opened on Sunday, 9 October 1921, thanks primarily to Mayak’s director and American public figure Mr. Areson and B.A. Berestnev. It featured works by artists such as Konstantin Astafiev (Astori), Tatiana Alexinsky-Loukina, Vladimir Bobritsky (Bobri), Nikolai Saretzki, Wladimir Ivanoff, Dimitri Ismailovitch, Nikolai Peroff, Varvara Rode, Boleslav Cybis, Artemiev, Bodritsin, Roman Bilinski, Demidov, Koz’min, Sabaneeff, Fedoroff and others. According to journalists who covered the exhibition, the works were mostly small, with the genre paintings of Istanbul clearly standing out. In addition to the works of Varvara Rode (sketches of the Kariye Mosque frescoes), Dimitri Ismailovitch (sketches of Little Hagia Sophia and Davut Paşa Mosque), and a portrait of Maximilian Voloshin by Boleslav Cybis, sketches of theatrical costumes by Bodritsin, small works by Demidov, graphics by Sabaneeff, as well as drawings by Artemiev and Astafiev were mentioned. The event was attended by over 600 people, whose number included not only foreigners, but also local Turkish and Greek artists. Here is what the Russian press wrote: “Chances are after this exhibition they [the painters] will be remembered and at least the most talented of them will be given an opportunity to work seriously, not to get wet in the rain on the sidewalks, trying to gain some money by selling postcards or caricatures. The Russian Lighthouse (Mayak) kindly agreed to provide space for periodic exhibitions” (Anonymous, “Russkiye Hudojniki v Konstantinopole”, 1921). Due to the enormous success of the exhibition, the artists decided to get together (the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople was created later) and hold similar one-day exhibitions every two weeks. It was decided to put on the second exhibition on 23 October: an organisational meeting was conducted by Wladimir Ivanoff, while Nikolai Vasilieff, Dimitri Ismailovitch and Nikolai Saretzki were appointed as jury members.

    Word Count: 337

  • Signature Image:
    Portrait of the poet Maximilian Voloshin (one of the representatives of the Symbolist movement in Russian culture and literature) by Boleslav Cybis that was presented at the exhibition. Boleslav Cybis was an émigré artist from the Russian Empire and a member of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople who was fond of representing truths symbolically, combining figurative thinking with ideas of the avant-garde (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
  • Media:
    Members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Portrait of the poet Maximilian Voloshin (one of the representatives of the Symbolist movement in Russian culture and literature) by Boleslav Cybis that was presented at the exhibition. Boleslav Cybis was an émigré artist from the Russian Empire and a member of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople who was fond of representing truths symbolically, combining figurative thinking with ideas of the avant-garde (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Anonymous. “Odnodnevnaya vystavka kartin.” Presse du Soir, 10 October 1921, p. 4.

    Anonymous. “Vystavka Kartin.” Presse du Soir, 20 October 1921, p. 4.

    Anonymous. “Russkiye Hudojniki v Konstantinopole.” Zarnitsy, 23 October 1921, p. 27.

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

    Bournakine, Anatoliy, and Dominic Valery, editors. Al’manah Na Proschaniye. The Farewell Almanac. L’Almanach Nos Adieux (1920–1923). Imp. L. Babok & fils, 1923.

    Word Count: 63

  • Archives and Sources:

    Istanbul Çelik Gülersoy Library.

    Slavonic Library (Slovanská knihovna) in Prague.

    Archives & Special Collections at the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Massachusetts).

    Word Count: 24

  • Acknowledgements:

    My deepest thanks go to the representatives of the Archives & Special Collections at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts.

    Word Count: 22

  • Author:
    Ekaterina Aygün
  • Participants (selection):

    Tatiana Alexinsky-Loukina, Vladimir Bobritsky (Bobri), Nikolai Saretzki, Wladimir Ivanoff, Dimitri Ismailovitch, Nikolai Peroff, Roman Bilinski.

    Word Count: 15

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    The Russian Lighthouse (Mayak), Bursa Street 40 (now Sadri Alışık 40), Beyoğlu, Istanbul.

  • Metropolis:
    Istanbul
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Ekaterina Aygün. "First Russian émigré artists in Istanbul exhibition." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2949/object/5141-10440410, last modified: 15-09-2021.
  • Dimitri Ismailovitch
    PainterArt Historian

    In Istanbul, Ismailovitch became one of the leaders of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, organised three solo exhibitions, and made contribution to the study of Byzantine art.

    Word Count: 29

    Dimitri Ismailovitch with his bust created by Polish sculptor Roman Bilinski, Istanbul, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Dimitri Ismailovitch, 1907, Sumy Cadet Corps (with permission from https://www.ria1914.info/).Dimitri Ismailovitch with his bust created by Polish sculptor Roman Bilinski, Istanbul, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Reproduction of the Kariye Mosque’s mosaic. In the foreground is its author, Dimitri Ismailovitch (Russkiye na Bosfore. Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac, 1928, n.p.).Photographs of the artworks by Dimitri Ismailovitch, 1923. Source: Album “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from D. Ismailovitch”, XII–XI, p. 11 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Photographs of the artworks by Dimitri Ismailovitch, 1924. Source: Album “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from D. Ismailovitch”, 9–10, p. 24 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Photographs of the artworks by Dimitri Ismailovitch. Source: Album “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from D. Ismailovitch”, p. 36 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Front cover of the 1948 Dimitri İsmailovitch exhibition catalogue (© Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux).Ekaterina Aygün chanced upon Dimitri Ismailovitch's visiting card at the Avni Lifij exhibition in Istanbul. This is further evidence of contact between Ismailovitch and Turkish painters (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2019).The Piyale Pasha Mosque (was designed by Mimar Sinan and rebuilt in the mid. of the 19th century) was depicted by Dimitri İsmailovitch and Alexis Gritchenko in 1920 (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2021).
    Istanbul
    Nikolai Peroff
    PainterArt restorerIconographerChoir DirectorCharitable Society’s ChairmanScene Designer

    Nikolai Peroff lived in Istanbul until the end of his life. He was engaged in restorations, carried out scene decorations, and did a lot for the Russian churches in Karaköy.

    Word Count: 31

    Nikolai Peroff, 1941 (Hagop Ayvaz Collection, Hrant Dink Foundaiton Archive, Istanbul).
    Nikolai Peroff, 1941 (Hagop Ayvaz Collection, Hrant Dink Foundaiton Archive, Istanbul).Nikolai Peroff (Tarih ve Toplum, no. 150, June 1996).Photograph of Nikolai Peroff's work, Istanbul, 1921. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 7 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).One of the works by Nikolai Peroff as a scene designer (Tarih ve Toplum, no. 150, June 1996)."Dekor: N.Peroff", Şehir Theatre, Istanbul (Akşam, 16 December 1954, p.4)."Dekor: Peroff", Şehir Theatre, Istanbul (Akşam, 17 February 1955, p. 7).Father Viktor in front of the wall that was painted by Nikolai Peroff, Aya Andrea Russian Orthodox Church (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2019).Church (Aya Andrea) parishioners at the beginning of the 1960s, Nikolai Peroff is the fourth from the right (© Aya Andrea Russian Orthodox Church’s archive).
    Istanbul
    Nikolai Saretzki
    PainterGraphic ArtistIllustratorArt CriticCollectorScene Designer

    Saretzki took a rather long exile route: from the Russian Empire he fled to Istanbul, from Istanbul to Berlin, from Berlin to Prague, and from Prague to Cormeilles-en-Parisis near Paris.

    Word Count: 30

    Nikolai Saretzki, 1927 (Gebrauchsgraphik, October 1928).
    Self-portrait by Nikolai Saretzki/Saretzky, 1921, Constantinople (Gebrauchsgraphik, 1926).Nikolai Saretzki, 1927 (Gebrauchsgraphik, October 1928).Fish trade, by Nikolai Saretzki, 1922 (© Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, Moscow. All Rights Reserved).
    Istanbul
    Nikolai Vasilieff
    PainterScene DesignerMuralist

    Vasilieff was not only one of the Union of Russian Painters in Istanbul’s leaders, but he is also remembered for his stage settings and costumes for the ballet Scheherazade at the Theatre des Petits Champs.

    Word Count: 36

    Consuelo Kanaga (American, 1894-1978). [Untitled] (Nicholas Vasilief, Painter). Gelatin silver photograph, 9 5/8 x 7 5/8 in. (24.4 x 19.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Wallace B. Putnam from the Estate of Consuelo Kanaga, 82.65.414
    Consuelo Kanaga (American, 1894-1978). [Untitled] (Nicholas Vasilief, Painter). Gelatin silver photograph, 9 5/8 x 7 5/8 in. (24.4 x 19.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Wallace B. Putnam from the Estate of Consuelo Kanaga, 82.65.414Nicholas Vasilieff, Still Life With Mushrooms, 1960. Oil on linen, 30 × 40 1/8 in. (76.2 × 101.9 cm). (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Mrs. Ansley W. Sawyer 61.59).
    Istanbul
    Tatiana Alexinsky-Loukina
    PainterArt Critic

    Tatiana Alexinsky-Loukina arrived in Istanbul with her husband in 1920. While living in Istanbul, she actively participated in exhibitions of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople.

    Word Count: 26

    Members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922 (photography, detail). Presumably the woman on the right is Tatiana Alexinsky-Loukina. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Presumably the woman on the right is Tatiana Alexinsky-Loukina. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Société des artistes indépendants. Catalogue de la 47e exposition 1936: au Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées du 7 février au 8 mars inclus, Paris, p. 16.
    Istanbul
    Vladimir Bobritsky
    PainterScene DesignerGraphic ArtistMusician

    Bobritsky worked at the Theatre des Petits Champs, where he successfully dealt with stage designs and costumes, at the same time he participated in the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople.

    Word Count: 31

    Promotional photograph of Vladimir Bobri (1898–1986), illustrator, author and editor of Guitar Review magazine, 1950. Self-scan from Guitar Review magazine, Winter 1987, no. 8 (The entire contents of the GUITAR REVIEW unless otherwise noted are copyrighted © 1985 by ALBERT AUGUSTINE LTD).
    Promotional photograph of Vladimir Bobri (1898–1986), illustrator, author and editor of Guitar Review magazine, 1950. Self-scan from Guitar Review magazine, Winter 1987, no. 8 (The entire contents of the GUITAR REVIEW unless otherwise noted are copyrighted © 1985 by ALBERT AUGUSTINE LTD).Vladimir Bobritsky decorates the shawl of Vera Strelsky, a former member of the Russian Imperial Ballet (Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), 13 January 1924, p. 86).Illustrations by Vladimir Bobritsky, Mentor, June 1930 (Chris Mullen, fulltable.com).
    Istanbul
    Russkiy v Konstantinopole/Le Russe à Constantinople
    Guide-book

    The guide-book was created for Russian-speaking refugees who had to leave their country and settle in Constantinople.

    Word Count: 17

    Russkiy v Konstantinopole / Le Russe à Constantinople, 1921, cover (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).
    Announcement concerning the publication of the guide-book in the Russian newspaper Presse du Soir, 1921, n.p. (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).Russkiy v Konstantinopole / Le Russe à Constantinople, 1921, cover (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).Layout of the Grand Rue de Péra (Istiklal Street) from the guide-book, 1921 (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).Schematic plan of Constantinople for ‘Russian’ refugees in the guide-book Russkiy v Konstantinopole/Le Russe à Constantinople, 1921 (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).Most common words in Turkish for ‘Russian’ refugees from the guide-book, 1921 (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).
    Istanbul
    Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople
    Association

    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

    Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople logo from 1922 membership card of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople (Private Archive of Dimitri Ismailovitch that belongs to Eduardo Mendes Cavalcanti).
    Members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).1922 membership card of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople (Private Archive of Dimitri Ismailovitch that belongs to Eduardo Mendes Cavalcanti).Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople logo painted by T. Sabaneeff, 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 1 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).One of the exhibitions of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 10 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Exhibition of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople at Taksim military barracks, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 6 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Istanbul
    Wladimir Ivanoff
    PainterSculptor

    Not only did Ivanoff become one of the founders and chairman of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, but he also became famous for “Drawing Thursdays”, which took place at his apartment.

    Word Count: 33

    Members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Presumably one of the men in this picture is Wladimir Ivanoff. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Presumably one of the men in this picture is Wladimir Ivanoff. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Photograph of the artwork by Wladimir Ivanoff (most likely). Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 16 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Istanbul
    Roman Bilinski
    PainterSculptorCollectorArt restorer

    At the beginning of the 1920s, a member of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Roman Bilinski was known as a sculptor. At the end of the 1920s–beginning of the 1930s – as a sculptor, painter and connoisseur of local antiques.

    Word Count: 42

    Self-portrait by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).
    Painter Dimitri Ismailovitch with his bust created by Polish sculptor Roman Bilinski, Istanbul, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Formal letter of thanks to Martha Stearns from the members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, 1922. One of the signatures is Roman Bilinski’s. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 9 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Bilinski's monument to the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz in Polonezköy was demolished but its plaque has been preserved (Postcard from Polonezköy, 2021).Adampol (Polonezköy) by Roman Bilinski (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Adampol (Polonezköy) by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1935 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Adampol (Polonezköy) by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Adampol (Polonezköy) by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Adampol (Polonezköy) by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Adampol (Polonezköy) by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Work by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Work by Roman Bilinski. Yugoslavia, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).The cover of the book by Marco Farotto, Roman Bilinski - Un artista cosmopolita nel Ponente ligure. According to the author, Bilinski used to walk around dressed in this way.
    Istanbul