Home from Russia: Paintings by Ivan Olinsky and Nicolai Cikovsky


Ivan Olinsky "Venice Waterfront"

Ivan Olinsky (1878-1962), "Venice Waterfront," Oil on board, 15 x 18 inches, Signed lower left: "Ivan A. Olinsky".

Now back at the gallery are four paintings recently lent by Spanierman Gallery to the exhibition American Artists from the Russian Empire; two by the Ukrainian-born Ivan Olinsky and two by the Russian artist Nicolai Cikovsky (all pictured here).

The exhibition, which traveled to the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg; the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; the Fred Jones Jr. Museum, University of Oklahoma, Norman; and the San Diego Museum of Art, California, featured nearly seventy paintings and sculptures by many of the best known artists working in America in the post WWII period, all of whom left the Russian Empire before the end of the 1930s. These artists created a significant body of work in the U.S., and the exhibition provided unique insights into the immeasurable contributions they made to the creation of American culture.

Ivan Olinsky "Portrait of a Woman (redhead)"

Ivan Olinsky (1878-1962), "Portrait of a Woman (Redhead)," 1915, Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches, Signed and dated lower right: "Ivan G. Olinsky / 1915".

Olinsky, who is esteemed for his impressionist portraits and images of female figures in interiors, was born in an agricultural part of Ukraine and grew up in Elizabethgrad, Russia, a town near Odessa, where he began his studies. When he was twelve, his family emigrated to New York City, settling on Henry Street in lower Manhattan. He continued his training at the National Academy of Design, afterward assisting the important mural painter, George Willoughby Maynard, and later the widely respected artist and writer John La Farge. Olinsky was an impeccable craftsman, creating works that not only captured the realities of his subjects, but also expressed his enthusiasm for them.  He is represented in numerous museum collections.

Nicolai Cikovsky "still life in a garden"

Nicolai Cikovsky (1894-1984), "Still Life in a Garden," 1930s-40s, Oil on canvas, 35 x 23 inches, Signed lower right: "Nicolai Cikovsky".

Cikovsky, who worked in a simplified realist manner, was born in Pinsk, Russia in 1894. He received his formal art training in Russia, immigrated to the United States in 1923, where he settled in New York. During the 1930s and 1940s, Cikovsky was linked with American Scene painting and Social Realism, creating works of art that were acclaimed for their strength, vitality and individuality of expression.  Later in his career, his paintings took on a more lyrical note as he responded to the light, color and scenic beauty of eastern Long Island. As with Olinsky, representative examples of his work can be found in important collections throughout the United States.

Nicolai cikovsky "in the studio"

Nicolai Cikovsky (1894-1984), "In the Studio," Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches.

American Artists from the Russian Empire was accompanied by a 288-page illustrated catalogue published by the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, which is available at the San Diego Museum of Art’s Museum store.

To make an appointment to view works in the gallery’s inventory by Ivan Olinsky and Nicolai Cikovsky please contact Christine Berry at christineberry@spanierman.com.



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