Lazare Volovick

1902 1977
(Ukraine) 1902 /   (France) 1977

Lazare Volovick was the youngest in a family of seven. His father worked as a commercial traveler and introduced his four sons to painting. In 1917, He enrolled in the School of Fine Arts in Kharkov and that of Kiev one year later. In 1920, he and his friend Kostia Terechkovitch decided to move to Paris. The two friends were penniless and hid in the hold of a cargo ship that took them to Constantinople. Volovick stayed in Turkey for a year, where he drew sketches in the street in order to earn his living.

Volovick eventually arrived in Paris in 1921. He was poor and did not know anyone. The only indication he had on where to go was “the cafés in Montparnasse”. At La Rotonde, he met the sculptor Baïdaroff-Poliakoff. He spent his first nights in Paris at the latter’s  place. In 1922, he spent time at the Grande Chaumière studio, where he posed as a model for sculptors. In 1923, he settled at La Ruche, where he stayed until the war. His studio was next to Krémègne’s, Kikoïne’s, and Jacque Chapiro’s from 1925.

Between 1923 and 1925, he travelled through France with the sculptor Nachmann Granowsky. They visited Corsica and the south of France and met the writer Colette. From 1927, numerous exhibitions and balls were taking place. Volovick and other painters in Montparnasse produced the décor of the Bal Bullier. In 1930, he visited Spain, discovered the Prado museum and met his future wife, the dancer Lya Grjebina. He accompanied her in her tours.

Following a trip to Brittany, Volovick and his wife left Paris for New York for six months. They later stayed in London before returning to Paris. At that time, they met friends at the Dôme or at the Coupole almost every day, including Ilya Ehrenburg and his wife as well as the painters Naïditch, Robert Pikelny and Jean Pougny. Following the war, they preferred to go to the Select bar.

In 1939, Volovick was at the Touquet when the war broke out. During the roundups, he hid at his mother-in-law’s in Boulogne-sur-Seine. As he could not paint oil paintings, he worked with pastels.

In 1944, he returned to Montparnasse and settled in 11 Rue Jules Chaplain. His studio at La Ruche had been occupied during the war and all of his works had been destroyed or plundered by the Nazis.

In 1946, Volovick worked at the studio of his friend Vladimir Naïditch, in 51 Boulevard Saint-Jacques, where he painted a series of nudes and portraits. He travelled to Venice several times in the post-war years.