Robert Pikelny begins his artistic apprenticeship in Moscow where his parents settle in 1908. He discovers painting through the painters of the famous gallery Tretiakoff where are exhibited Repine, Vassili Ivanovitch and Vanlentin Alexandrovitch Seroff whose reproductions decorate the child's room. Later on, he will be more attracted by the painters of the Russian movement "Le Valet de Carreau"; the group includes Fauvists and Cubists and brings round Ilja Machkoff, the first master of Pikelny and Chevtchenko, a painter influenced by Cézanne and attracted by Paris.
In 1922, Pikelny travels to Vienna and Berlin, he meets Jean Pougny who becomes his friend.
In 1923, Pikelny arrives in Paris and settles in the atelier next to Pougny's one, on street du Moulin de Beurre. Pougny will introduce him to the Russian Artists Society in which Païles, Kikoïne and Pougny himself take part. Lazare Volovick, Vladimir Naïditch and Ossip Lubitch will be among his closest friends, as the art amateur André Fize who supports him and believes in his talent. Pikelny writes and draws for several artistic magazines and reviews. He meets Eliane Steinville, model at the Grande-Chaumière and marries her. During World War II, Pikelny takes refuge in the South of France. He comes back to Paris straight after the Liberation and travels to Italia, Spain and Turkey.
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