Nicholas Vasilieff, Russian (1887 - 1970)

Nicholas Vasilieff

Mr. Vasilieff, born in Mos cow, called himself a member of the left‐wing, post‐expressionist school of painting, and he often denounced the current preoccupation with total abstraction.

He studied at the Moscow Academy of Fine Arts and received the first prize and a gold medal on his graduation. One of his teachers was Prof. Leonide Pasternak, father of Boris Pasternak, the author.

After his graduation, Mr. Vasilieff served for four years in the Russian Army in World War I. He taught at the Moscow Academy of Fine Arts in 1918 and 1919.

It was then, in his late thir ties, that he began to feel what he called “repressive conditions” in the new nation emerging as the U.S.S.R. He left his native land to settle briefly in Constantinople and then came to the United States.

For some years he occupied a studio in Union Square. As the area became more and more commercial he moved to Lanesboro, occupying a 100‐ year‐old farm house where he had spent his summers for 15 years.

Mr. Vasilieff once was characterized by Howard Devree, an art critic for The New York. Times, as “more likely to find immediate favor with artists than with the general public.”

Mr. Vasilieff won a first prize of $3,000 for an expressionist painting, dubbed “Still life,” in the third annual La Tausca exhibition of paintings by American artists at the Riverside Museum. There were 62 entries.

His paintings hang in many of the world's leading art museums, including the Corcoran and the National in Washing ton, Yale, the University of Illinois and in Tel Aviv, and—not far from his home in Lanesboro — at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA.

Information from Vasilieff's obituary in the New York Times October 14th 1970.

Artist's Gallery


RoGallery Logo

Phone: 800.888.1063 or 718.937.0901 - Email:

47-15 36th Street - Long Island City, NY 11101