Robert Pikelny

1904 1986
(Pologne) 1904 /   (France) 1986

Robert Pikelny started his artistic education in Moscow, where his parents settled in 1908. He discovered paintings through the painters at the Tretiakov gallery. The latter was an important gallery in Moscow, which exhibited works by Repin, Vassili Ivanovitch Sourikov and Valentin Alexandrovitch Serov. His childhood bedroom was decorated with reproductions of these artists. Later, he was more attracted by Jack of Diamond artists. This Russian movement was influenced by fauvism and cubism. Ilja Machkov, Pikelny’s first master, and Chevtchenko, a painter influenced by Cezanne and attracted by Paris, both joined this movement. In 1922, Pikelny travelled to Vienna and Berlin. He met Jean Pougny who became his friend.

In 1923, Pikelny arrived in Paris and settled in a studio next door to Pougny’s. The latter introduced him to the Russian Artists Society to which he, Païles and Kikoïne belonged. His close friends were Lazare Volovick, Vladimir Naïditch and Ossip Lubitch, as well as art lover André Fize, who supported him and believed in his talent. Pikelny illustrated and wrote in various artistic journals and magazines. He met Éliane Steinville, a model at the Grande Chaumière, who became his wife.

During World War II, Pikelny took refuge in the south of France. He returned to Paris right after the Liberation and travelled to Italy, Spain and Turkey.