Nicolai Ivanovich Vasilieff
Nicolai Ivanovich Vasilieff (Russian 1887 or 1892-1970)
Painter, graphic artist, scene-designer
Nicolai Ivanovich Vasiliev, later changed to Vasilieff, was born in a Moscow province in 1887-1892.
In early 1900 Vasiliev studied at the K. F. Yuon school of Painting and Drawing, in 1906–1919 — at Moscow School of painting, sculpture and architecture (MUZhVZ) under L. Pasternak — the Second State Free Studios. He was awarded a gold medal for the painting Portrait of father. He graduated with high honors.
In 1914 Vasiliev was called up for military service as officer; until 1918 he fought in the artillery. After demobilization he returned to Moscow. In 1918–1919 he gave private lessons, worked as R. Falks assistant at the Higher State Artistic and Technical Workshops (VKhUTEMAS). Vasiliev participated in the exhibition From impressionism to non-figurative art (the 5th State Exhibition of paintings, 1918–1919) in Moscow.
In 1919 Vasiliev emigrated. For some time he lived in Istanbul, where he was engaged in cabaret wall paintings and scene design (opera Scheherazade by N. A. Rimsky Korsakov for the V. P. Zimin theatrical enterprise). In 1922 he made trips to Germany and France. Vasiliev studied at the Bauhaus art school in Weimar, participated in the 1st Russian Art exhibition in the Van Diemen gallery in Berlin (1922).
In 1923 Vasiliev settled in New York. He exposed his works at many group exhibitions, but at first he was unsuccessful. Only in early 1930s Vasiliev obtained the recognition and received numerous commissions to paint pictures. He painted portraits and street scenes, combining elements of primitive art and expressionism. Vasiliev participated in the exhibition of Modern Russian Art in Philadelphia (1932). He decorated the Russian club Troika in Washington (1932), a night club in Baltimore (1934), the restaurant Petrushka in New York (1930s).
In 1940s Vasilievs style of painting changed; from the primitive art and expression he turned to fine decorative manner, in which he worked for the rest of his life. Best works of this period were floral still lifes, interiors and compositions with female figures. From 1938 till 1963 Vasiliev held 10 personal exhibitions at various New York galleries (Bertha Schaefer,Chineze, J. Heller and others). Vasiliev was conferred awards at art competitions La Tusk (1948) and University of Illinois (1954).
Works by Nikolay Vasiliev are in many museum collections, including Brooklyn Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and others.
His work is owned by the Yale University Collection, the Societe Anonyme, The Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts and is in many private collections including that of Mr. and Mrs. B. Lippincot of Philadelphia, Mr. and Mrs. Bjarne Klaussen of Lewiston, NY and Mr. and Mrs. Ansley W. Sawyer of Buffalo, NY.
Exhibition catalog published by John Heller Gallery in October of 1951; Art Investment RU