"Living and working with Repin!" IN HIS MASTER’S FOOTSTEPS: THE LIFE AND ART OF MICHAEL WERBOFF

Irina Medvedeva

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“GRANY” FOUNDATION PRESENTS
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The artist Michael Alexander Werboff (1896-1996) began his creative life as a student of Ilya Repin. After leaving Russia in the first wave of emigration, his career flourished, first in France, then later in America: he went on to paint portraits of many outstanding individuals from world culture, as well as prominent public figures, including kings and presidents.[1] Even as he gained recognition in the West, Werboff remained true to the traditions of Russian realist art, in particular to Repin’s influence as his mentor and spiritual father.

Ilya REPIN. Portrait of Michael Werboff. 1915
Ilya REPIN. Portrait of Michael Werboff. 1915
Cigarette stub, quill on paper. From the “Chukokkala” almanac

In 1960, Werboff wrote to Kornei Chukovsky: “It's been 46 and a half years since that Tuesday, on January 5 1914, when you and my late uncle literally shoved me through the doors of Penaty. My fate was decided that day. The next three years are inextricably connected with you - with Kuokkala and visiting you and Repin."[2]

Michael Werboff[3] was born on November 27 1896[4] in Yekaterinoslav (now Dnipro, formerly Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) into a family of music-lovers whose main source of income was the joint-stock company “Sulyuktinsky Coal. Werboff and Co.". He spent his childhood in Tashkent, Turkestan (in modern-day Uzbekistan), which was where he developed an interest in portraiture during his school art lessons. He “realised that nothing is more interesting for an artist than the human face."[5] The landscape painter Sergei Yudin, a graduate of the Imperial Academy of Arts, was his first painting teacher. Werboff was also interested in singing, and later in life would perform as a bass-baritone in concerts, including on the legendary stage of New York's Carnegie Hall in 1955. He said that he had two great teachers: in the field of painting, Ilya Repin, and in the field of vocal art, Titta Ruffo.[6]

Werboff first came to Penaty as a senior gymnasium student on the recommendation of Kornei Chukovsky, who was a friend and neighbour of Repin. His uncle, a journalist from St. Petersburg, knew Chukovsky, and the young man wanted to show his works to Russia's foremost artist in order to assure himself that pursuing art professionally would be the right choice for him. He later remembered the experience of his first meeting with Repin, how he hestitated at the front door out of nervous excitement: Chukovsky had to push him inside. But the outcome of that encounter was favourable: Repin advised him to study at the Academy of Arts. However, at the insistence of his father, Werboff became a student of the law faculty at Petrograd University in 1915, although he never completed that course of study.

Chukovsky recalled what followed: “After Natalya died,[7] Repin began to come to visit me on Sundays with Werboff and once sketched him in [Chukovsky's handwritten almanac] ‘Chukokkala'.[8] Werboff was a very energetic young man, ambitious, stubborn, quick-witted in everyday affairs, and Repin in his rapid sketch expressed these features of his personality very vividly."[9]

Werboff began to bring his works to Penaty when he attended the weekly “Wednesday gatherings" there, and Repin duly set him another task: Werboff considered the portrait of Repin that resulted, created at Chukovsky's dacha on May 17 1915, as the beginning of his creative activity. This drawing, as well as a portrait of the theatre director and playwright Nikolai Yevreinov (1915) and two portraits of Chukovsky (1915, 1924) were included in the “Chukokkala" almanac.

Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Ilya Repin. 1915
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Ilya Repin. 1915
Lead pencil on paper. From the “Chukokkala” almanac

He spent the summer of 1915 in Kuokkala and was at Chukovsky's dacha on the day that Vladimir Mayakovsky first read his poem “A Cloud in Trousers". Werboff can be seen in a group photograph from that year in the dining-room of Penaty together with Repin, Chukovsky, Yevreinov and Mayakovsky (it can be seen today on the famous spinning-table at the Ilya Repin Penaty Museum, Repino).

A year later, a momentous entry appeared in Chukovsky's almanac: “Today, July 2 1916, is one of the happiest days in my life: Repin invited me to live with him at Penaty. That of which I did not even dare to dream is coming true. Living and working with Repin! Yes, can there be anything better than that? With the greatest happiness and joy, I write these lines to dear Kornei, the thoughtful witness of all my experiences and meetings with Repin. Misha Werboff."[10] In the summer of 1916, Anton Komashka, a student of Repin who assisted in the household, had been called up for military service, as a result of which the opportunity for a student to live at the estate appeared.

In Penaty, Michael was engaged in compiling albums of Repin's drawings from his multitude of sketches; he asked the master to sign each one and, as he recalled, organized them into 73 volumes. It was then that Werboff and Repin exchanged drawings. Michael presented to his teacher, at Repin's request, a portrait of the pilot of a vessel that he had sketched during a trip along the Volga: Repin took the piece as almost depicting a “type" from his own painting “Barge Haulers on the Volga". The picture was published in the magazine “Sun of Russia" in 1916, and hung in the living room of Penaty until 1940. In exchange, Repin offered Werboff a portrait of Anton Komashka.

In September 1916, with the help of a letter of recommendation from Repin, Werboff entered the Higher Art School at the Imperial Academy of Arts as a non-matric- ulated student in the workshop of Dmitry Kardovsky, whose pedagogical system was based on a confident mastery of academic drawing. Michael continued to visit Repin's “Wednesday gatherings" at Penaty, and would later write in his memoir “My Heart Is in Russia" of the time that he spent in Repin's company: “Every day, working side by side with the great master, the beloved teacher - such remarkable good fortune! I remembered his lessons all my life, and all that I learned, I owe to Repin."[11]

But, in June 1917, a most unpleasant incident occurred. According to Chukovsky, “Misha Werboff appeared [at one of the ‘Wednesdays' - I.M.], everywhere declaring himself a student of Repin, and all that, and Repin threw him out in front of everyone and worked himself into a fury."[12] That evening, Chukovsky wrote in his diary that Repin was out of sorts, and he also took his mood out on the artist Paul Chmaroff and the singer Adelaida von Skilondz: those who were close to Repin always noted his temper. Interestingly, Anton Komashka, in his memoirs about Repin, referred to Werboff as one of those people who tired the elderly master: “Michael Werboff... often came to Penaty for the ‘Wednesdays'... He especially bothered Repin with his speechifyings about art."[13] It should be noted, however, that Komashka was jealous of the other student's favour with the teacher, while Werboff himself recalled about Komashka, “He was a good-for-nothing, always trying to get me to argue with Repin."[14] Repin's cooling towards his student was also caused by the fact that, from January to September 1917, Werboff was not attending the Academy of Arts.

Someone of different character, after being so publicly dismissed by his beloved teacher, might have been disheartened, but Werboff proved stubborn. Neither the October Revolution, nor the Civil War could deter him from his cherished goal of becoming an artist. He took temporary leave from the Academy and moved from impoverished Petrograd to Tashkent, where his parents were living. Despite his youth, he became director of the city's art museum (now the Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan), which opened in 1918 in the former palace of Grand Duke Nikolai Romanov (1850-1918). There he compiled an inventory of the Grand Duke's collection, and also drew his portrait, in charcoal (it was the final ever image made of its subject, and is now in the Bakhmetyev Archive, Columbia University, New York).

In November 1920, Werboff returned to Petrograd to continue his studies, but was disappointed by what he found. He later wrote: “The Academy has been through a terrible collapse all these years, as the Futurists and the like have been in charge."[15] He certainly inherited his rejection of radical deviations from realist depiction of nature from Repin. Soon he followed his teacher Kardovsky to Moscow, and studied in his workshop at VKhUTEMAS, the Higher Arts School, in 1922-23.

In Petrograd, Werboff attended an evening dedicated to Repin that Chukovsky had organized on December 12 1921 at the “House of Arts", where the artist's eldest daughter, Vera, read from her father's most recent letters, and those who had gathered duly responded with their own “collective letter" to Repin. Michael soon decided to write separately to his teacher in order to put an end to their unseemly quarrel, that letter dated January 31 1922:

“Most deeply venerated Repin! The few words about me in your last letter to Vera Ilyinichna brought me great joy. How could you think that I could be angry with you, whom I will forever love and revere. At our last few meetings in 1917, I was tortured by your sharply changed attitude towards me, further exacerbated by my complete ignorance of what I might have done to cause this, since I was not aware of any fault on my part. All these years, I continued to sincerely and deeply love you, and I recalled the time spent with you with infinite gratitude. Therefore, you will understand what a joy these few words were for me, they gave me moral peace and the right to tell you again that all this time I never for a second stopped deeply respecting and loving you, and to ask for forgiveness if I somehow unwittingly offended you. Thank God, your words give me hope to think that you have forgiven me the unknown fault, and again I can ask for your blessing on the difficult path of art."[16] It was at this time that Werboff helped Vera obtain a passport,[17] and also sought permission for himself to travel abroad to continue his artistic education, as he mentioned in that letter.

The correspondence that began between Werboff and Repin would continue until the the latter's death in 1930. Michael told his teacher about his plans and successes, and about the artistic life of Petrograd, Moscow and Paris, and in response received letters that he called “wonderful, affectionate", “warming the soul, as eagerly awaited as a holiday".[18] He wrote to Repin on many occasions about how he hoped to come to Kuokkala, a sentiment expressed in one letter from 1924: “I so wanted to see you, to hear your criticism of my works, your wise advice about further work, to draw a portrait of you and talk, talk, talk..."[19]

After moving to Moscow, Werboff received a commission to paint the portrait of the director of the Maly Theatre, Alexander Sumbatov-Yuzhin, to mark the 40th anniversary of the actor's creative career. Previously, in 1921, Werboff had begun work on a portrait of Vladimir Davydov, the famous actor of the Alexandrinsky Theatre, who soon moved to Moscow, where he joined the troupe of the Maly Theatre (both he and Sumbatov-Yuzhin received the title of People's Artist of the RSFSR). It was he who recommended Werboff as portraitist to Yuzhin and the two portraits of Sumbatov-Yuzhin and Davydov marked the beginning of the young artist's career; they were exhibited in the foyer of the Maly Theatre, alongside works by Valentin Serov and Repin's portrait of the actor Mikhail Shchepkin. Werboff then continued his work for the Maly Theatre with sketches of the company's actors in their current roles.[20]

In 1922, the famous tenor Leonid Sobinov, the first director of the Bolshoi Theatre during the Soviet period, posed for him (Werboff would say how much he loved Sobinov). The artist participated in the 18th (and final) exhibition of the Union of Russian Artists with his portrait of Mstislav Dobu- zhinsky (1923, whereabouts unknown). At the request of Sumbatov-Yuzhin, and in honour of the centenary of the Maly Theatre, he painted a portrait of Maria Yermolova, one of the greatest actresses in the history of Russian theatre (1924, whereabouts unknown).

Like many Soviet artists, Werboff duly worked on an image of Vladimir Lenin, whom he encountered when the Soviet leader spoke at the Columns Hall of the House of the Unions in 1922. On the basis of such sketches, he created the portrait that hung for many years in the House of Scientists in Moscow (present whereabouts unknown).

Just before he left Russia to travel abroad, Werboff finished his portrait of Ilya Ostroukhov, whom he depicted against the background of the 15th century Novgorod school icon “Descent from the Cross" (1924, Tretyakov Gallery). He wrote that he worked on this piece “with great excitement and trepidation", since Ostroukhov, the landscape painter, collector and trustee of the Tretyakov Gallery, was among Repin's friends.[21]

In 1924, Werboff helped Repin see his younger daughter, Tatyana Repina-Yazeva, after a long separation (she had been living with her family at the Zdravnevo estate near Vitebsk).

In order to facilitate this visit, he obtained an audience with Felix Dzerzhinsky, Commissar of Internal Affairs, and went on to paint his portrait. He gladly informed Repin: “I just had to show your letter to Felix Dzerzhinsky, wherein you write about your desire to see Tatyana, and he gave an immedi ate telegraphic instruction for the prompt and unhindered issue of the passport to Repin's daughter. [Tatyana] remembers that it took us only two-and-a-half hours to obtain the passport in Minsk!"[22] Werboff escorted Tatyana to the border station of Beloostrov; together with her grandson Valentin, she was coming to celebrate her father's 80th birthday and stayed in Kuokkala for two months. Repin's efforts to thank him are referred to in a letter from 1925, that Werboff sent to his teacher from Paris: “Unfortunately, I haven't seen the watercolour that is in my sister's house...[23] but just the news of your gift already touched me deeply and gave me great joy. How could you, dear, beloved Repin, even think about trying to repay me for Tatyana's trip to you...? I was so happy that I could thank you in part for all you've done for me."[24]

In 1927, Repin sent Werboff his photograph with the inscription: “To Mikhail Alexandrovich Werboff, the valiant knight, in the name of eternal virtues - generosity and selflessness. Ilya Repin. A simple man of Kuokkala."[25] Repin sent him another postcard the following year, where he wrote: “Dear Mikhail Alexandrovich. We remember you every day and Vera has so many stories from Paris[26] and from here, too. What with the portrait of Tasi[27] and just in general, you've given us so many memories of you. Thank you, thank you so much. I wish you success with all my heart, and I'm sure it will keep you and not delay in making you stand out."[28] Werboff carefully saved all these signed missives from Repin, referring to them as his “moral passport". In a letter to a friend, Tatyana mentioned Werboff as the person who “arranged" her “trip to see Papa", and who “adores Papa truly deeply and honestly".[29]

In November 1924, the artist left Russia, forever: he said that one of his collectors, an Austrian diplomat, helped him. In Berlin, Werboff received a League of Nations passport for stateless persons and settled in Paris at the beginning of 1925.

“Paris is the best place in the world for an artist to develop his artistic perception. It's a wonderful city, saturated with various flavours of different art," he wrote to Repin soon after arriving there.[30] Every day, he thought of “how to be spotted in this turbulent, 40-thousand-strong wave of artists", and “what is true. in art, and what is a lie."[31] He searched for answers to such questions in his encounters with the city's bohemian world in the cafes of Montparnasse, at exhibitions of contemporary art, and in the halls of the Louvre, where he studied works by the Old Masters.

Even in the first months of his life in Paris, Werboff remarked that “an artist's career and success can now be determined by any number of things, just not by his talent", but rather by his “connections and acquaintances" among dealers. “The marchand will take care of everything - the press, and advertising, and the clients... who follow the course of fashion to the artist, a fashion created by the marchand himself. Everything is built on advertising," he wrote to Repin.[32] He was an active participant in exhibitions, made contacts in high society, and quickly found wealthy patrons. The collector and gallery-owner Joseph Hessel regularly invited Werboff to his estate, where on Sundays the cream of the French intelligentsia gathered. Werboff's first high-profile sitter was the lawyer Joseph Paul-Boncour, a future Prime Minister of France: the artist received the commission for this portrait thanks to his acquaintance with the ballerina Alexandra Balashova, whose husband knew Paul-Boncourt. The portrait of Paul-Boncourt (1925, whereabouts unknown) pleased Prince Carol of Romania, the future King Carol II, who commissioned several portraits from Werboff.

In 1925, Werboff created an expressive portrait of his opera idol Feodor Chaliapin as Boris Godunov (Metropolitan Opera Collection, New York): the great singer posed for him in the wings of the Grand Opera in Paris. Three years later, he painted the portrait of Nina Koshetz, a singer with a brilliant stage presence who also performed at the Grand Opera (1928, whereabouts unknown).

In 1927, King Gustav V of Sweden posed for Werboff. The portrait (whereabouts unknown) was painted at the Swedish Embassy in Paris on the commission of railway company chairman David Cohen. Another success for the artist was his portrait of the writer Georges Courteline in the style of Old Russian art (1928, whereabouts unknown). He sent images of these works to Kuokkala, as he had with the Chaliapin portrait. Expressing his gratitude, Repin wrote on March 2 1930: “Isn't there anything else? Spoil me. Always sincerely loving you and waiting for more from you, Ilya Repin."[33]

Such correspondence with Repin, and communication with other Russian emigres, came to replace any direct connection to his homeland for Werboff. Congratulating Repin on his 85th birthday in 1929, he wrote: “Dear, beloved Repin!... I owe so much to you! Your example, your art, communication with you, your advice is and has always been a huge moral support in the difficult path of artistic growth, and especially in the chaos of art in our days, when it is so easy to go astray from serious art and fall into the passion for cheap effect."[34]

In his letters to Repin, he also summed up his creative quest, writing in 1926: “I... came to the conclusion that truth comes in sincerity. If the picture is done sincerely, it is almost always convincing. I gave up thinking about different directions in painting - I look at nature, I try to understand and convey it."[35] Werboff found a new artistic language to suit the image each time: in his portrait of the sophisticated beauty Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt (1930, private collection, London), for example, he combined his experience of having studied Renaissance painting with objects in the style of Art Deco.

In January 1933, in search of new commissions, Werboff travelled to New York. He believed at first that he had left France only temporarily, but given the economic and political situation in Europe, he became an American citizen in 1941. In New York, Werboff felt lonely as an artist: his approach to painting, which he termed “Repin-esque", was different from that of most of his American colleagues. He gradually earned considerable prosperity, which brought the fortunate opportunity to travel the world, and many of his clients came from the international elite; he was especially proud of his 1951 portrait of the 17th Duke of Alba, which he presented to the Prado.

On his own initiative, Werboff created portraits of his famous compatriots, mindful of continuing the portrait gallery of those people “dear to the nation" that had been begun by Pavel Tretyakov.[36] Thus, in 1951, he convinced Ivan Bunin, the Nobel Prize laureate for literature, to sit for him (private collection, New York).

Werboff's studio was something of an oasis of Russian culture in the United States. From 1955, every year on his birthday he organized an “open house", at which artists, actors and musicians would gather. The artist and critic Sergei Gollerbach called him “the last representative of the Old Russian New York", “always remaining Russian in terms of education, language and loyalty to the traditions of his youth".[37] “A Russian is inherently such that he cannot finally become close to a foreign country. No matter what successes he has in life, his soul stays at home, in Russia. I know this from my own experience," the artist said in an interview in 1977.[38]

It was only in 1974 that Werboff was able to visit his homeland again. In Moscow, he was most of all struck by the Tretyakov Gallery: he looked at Repin's works for a long time, especially at the portraits of Modest Mussorgsky and Alexei Pisemsky, and felt once again like a student of the great master.[39] While in Leningrad, he of course visited the Penaty Museum-Estate: one of Werboff's earliest drawings, his 1915 pencil portrait of Repin, hangs there today.

In 1977, he returned to Moscow at the invitation of the Soviet Ministry of Culture and was received with honour at the Tretyakov Gallery. He donated two of his drawings to Russian museums - a portrait of the writer Sergei Gusev-Orenburgsky and the “Peasant in Madrid" - as well as Repin's drawing “Savva Mamontov with His Daughter" (location unknown).

On October 17 1995, the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin signed a decree to award Werboff the Order of Friendship. At the official award ceremony at the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in New York, Werboff gave a brief speech: “I urge young Russian artists to follow the precepts of my teacher, Ilya Repin, and not engage with this abstraction."[40] Werboff's final exhibition opened on his 99th birthday in the same location - but his dream of showing his works in the “new Russia" remained unfulfilled.

The artist died on April 4 1996. He had no close relatives and bequeathed his inheritance to the son of his deceased friend, an American citizen.[41] However, in an interview with “Pravda" newspaper in 1991, Werboff had expressed the hope that his portraits of Feodor Chaliapin (1925, watercolour), Ivan Bunin (1951), and the composer Alexander Grechaninov (1947) would in due course be returned to Russia.[42] He also spoke of his other desire: “Why do I so badly want my exhibition in Russia to take place?... It will reunite me with Russian art: that is the most important of all."[43]

 

  1. Werboff painted portraits of King Gustav V of Sweden, King Alfonso XIII of Spain, the President of Finland Urho Kaleva Kekkonen, and two Prime Ministers of India, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. For more information see: Medvedeva, I.Yu. ‘The 20th Century of Mikhail Alexandrovich Werboff’ // “Yearbook of the Manuscript Department of Pushkin House for 2015". St. Petersburg, 2016. Pp. 238-262; Medvedeva, I.Yu. ‘Leaving Penaty. On the Fate of the Artist Mikhail Alexandrovich Werboff’ // “Karelian Isthmus. Pages of History". Book 1. St. Petersburg. 2017. Pp. 83-101.
  2. “Chukokkala. Handwritten Almanac of Kornei Chukovsky". Moscow, 1979. P. 114.
  3. Mikhail Isaakovich Werboff. On November 27 1914, he converted to Orthodox Christianity, becoming known as Mikhail Alexandrovich. Russian State Historical Archive. F. 789. Op. 13. 1916. D. 143.
  4. Werboffcelebrated his birthday on December 10, according to the New Calendar.
  5. Meilah, M. “Euterpe, Is That You? Artistic Notes. A Conversation with Russian Artists in Exile and in the Metropolis". Vol. 2. Moscow, 2011. P. 595.
  6. In 1932, Werbofftook singing lessons from the Italian opera singer Titta Ruffo.
  7. Natalya Borisovna Nordman-Severova (1863-1914), Repin’s common-law wife, an author.
  8. “Chukokkala", a handwritten almanac, compiled by Kornei Chukovsky from 1914 to 1969. The title is a portmanteau combination of the words “Chukovsky" and “Kuokkala".
  9. Chukovsky, K.I. ‘Repin in “Chukokka- la"’ // “Repin. Artistic Legacy". Vol. 1. Moscow; Leningrad, 1948. P. 290.
  10. “Chukokkala. Handwritten Almanac of Kornei Chukovsky". Moscow, 1979. P. 116.
  11. ‘My Heart Is in Russia. Memories of the Artist M.A. Werboff’ // in “Golos Rodiny" (Voice of the Motherland) newspaper. 1974. No. 94. Sheet 6 . Hereinafter - My Heart Is in Russia.
  12. Chukovsky, K.I. “A Diary". Vol. 1. Moscow, 2011. P. 209.
  13. Komashka, A.M. ‘Three Years with Repin’ // “Repin. Artistic Legacy". Vol. 2. Moscow, Leningrad, 1949. P. 290.
  14. Vlasov, S. ‘The Long Road Home’ // “Nashe nasledie" (Our Heritage). 1990. No. 6. P. 139. Hereinafter - Vlasov.
  15. Scientific Archive of the Russian Academy of Arts (SA RAA). F. 25. Op. 2. Ed. arch. 123. Sheet 2. Hereinafter - SA RAA.
  16. Ibid. Sheet 1.
  17. Vera Repina was able to leave Russia and travel to Finland in April 1922.
  18. SA RAA. Sheet 14.
  19. Ibid. Sheet 8.
  20. The drawings are in the Maly Theatre Museum, the State Archive of Literature and Art and the Alexander Ostrovsky Museum-Reserve, Shchelkovo.
  21. SA RAA. Sheet 10.
  22. Ibid.
  23. Nina Alexandrovna Werbova (1897-1981), a singer, later a professor at the Gnessin State Music and Pedagogical Institute in Moscow; she visited Penaty in 1916.
  24. SA RAA. Sheet 14.
  25. My Heart Is in Russia. No. 95. P. 6.
  26. Vera Repina met Werboffwhen she came to Paris.
  27. Tatyana Nikolaievna Dyakonova, Ilya Repin’s granddaughter.
  28. Werboff, M. ‘“I am not a businessman, I am an artist.’ Interview with B. Yezer- skaya // “Vremya i my" (Time and Us). 1983. No. 71. P. 164. Hereinafter - Werboff.
  29. Doronchenkov, I.A. ‘The Family of I.Y. Repin in the Letters of T.I. Repina-Yazeva’ // “Yearbook of the Manuscript Department of Pushkin House for 1991". St. Petersburg, 1994. P. 279.
  30. SA RAA. Sheet 16.
  31. Ibid.
  32. Ibid. Sheet 13.
  33. My Heart Is in Russia. No. 94. Sheet 6.
  34. SA RAA. Sheet 22.
  35. Ibid. Sheet 20.
  36. Pavel Tretyakov had originally written the now celebrated phrase in a letter to Ilya Repin.
  37. Gollerbach, S. ‘In Memory of the Artist (M.A. Werboff)’ // “Russkaya mysl" (Russian Thought). Paris, 1996. No. 4125. P. 17.
  38. “A sonorous word - Russian": G. Yevdokimova’s interview with M.A. Werboff // “Voice of the Motherland". 1977. No. 46. P. 11. 1974. No. 94.
  39. Vlasov. P. 140.
  40. Gollerbach, S. ‘New York Notepad. Essay Series’ // “Novy journal" (New Journal). New York, 2011. No. 265.
  41. Mikhail Nikitich Tolstoy (St. Petersburg Institute of History, RAS) discovered Werboff’s will in 2016 with the help of Yves Franquien (Museum of Russian Culture, San Francisco).
  42. Werboff. P. 159.
  43. Linnik, V. ‘Love for the Motherland is an incurable feeling...’ // “Pravda" (Truth) newspaper. 1991. December 16. No. 293. P. 5.

Illustrations

Michael Werboff
Michael Werboff
Photograph with gift inscription: “To dearly beloved Ilya Yefimovich Repin from faithfully devoted Mikhail Werboff. 6.VIII.1929” Paris, 1929
© Research Archive of the Russian Academy of Arts, St. Petersburg
In the studio at Penaty
In the studio at Penaty
Foreground, Ilya Repin; from left to right, Anton Komashka, Pyotr Neradovsky, Michael Werboff, the singer Alexandra Molas; to the right, her granddaughter Tatyana Brusilovskaya (Muromtseva). 1916
Photograph. Private archive. Reproduced in: Brusilovskaya (Muromtseva), T.S. ‘Meeting with Ilya Repin’ // “Art Panorama”, No. 4. Moscow, 1981
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Kornei Chukovsky. 1915
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Kornei Chukovsky. 1915
Coloured pencil on paper. From the “Chukokkala” almanac
Michael WERBOFF. The Pilot of a River Vessel
Michael WERBOFF. The Pilot of a River Vessel
Lead pencil on paper. Location unknown. Reproduced in “Sun of Russia” magazine, 1916. No. 49
Grigory Gnesin. Ode to Nikolai Yevreinov, with a drawing by Miсhael Werboff. February 2 1915
Grigory Gnesin. Ode to Nikolai Yevreinov, with a drawing by Miсhael Werboff. February 2 1915
Lead pencil on paper. From the “Chukokkala” almanac
In the dining-room at Penaty
In the dining-room at Penaty: standing, right to left: second figure, Margarita Berson, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Kornei Chukovsky, Vera Repina, Nikolai Yevreinov, Adelaida Andreeva-Shkilondz, Michael Werboff, Ilya Repin, N. Chukovskaya, Yevgeny Chirikov and others. 1915
Photograph
© Ilya Repin Penaty Museum, Repino
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Vladimir Davydov. 1922
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Vladimir Davydov. 1922
Oil on canvas. 101.4 × 66 cm
© Maly Theatre Museum, Moscow. First publication
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Alexander Sumbatov-Yuzhin. 1922
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Alexander Sumbatov-Yuzhin. 1922
Oil on canvas. 89 × 68.2 cm
© Maly Theatre Museum, Moscow. First publication
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Leonid Sobinov. 1922
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Leonid Sobinov. 1922
Oil on canvas. 117 × 88 cm
© Bolshoi Theatre Museum, Moscow. First publication
Michael Werboff and Leonid Sobinov. 1922
Michael Werboff and Leonid Sobinov. 1922
Photograph
© Bolshoi Theatre Museum, Moscow
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Kornei Chukovsky
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Kornei Chukovsky
With gift inscription: “To the great president of great Chukokkala. Begging with love you to accept. People’s Artist of Chukokkala, Michael Werboff, 17.VIII.24”, “Мichael Werboff 1924, August. Sestroretsk”. Italian pencil on paper. From the “Chukokkala” Almanac
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Ilya Ostroukhov. 1924
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Ilya Ostroukhov. 1924
Oil on canvas. 114.5 × 89 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Alexandra Yablochkina as Queen Elizabeth in Friedrich von Schiller’s “Mary Stuart”. Maly Theatre, Moscow, 1923
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Alexandra Yablochkina as Queen Elizabeth in Friedrich von Schiller’s “Mary Stuart”. Maly Theatre, Moscow, 1923
Lead pencil on paper. 61 × 49 cm
© Maly Theatre Museum, Moscow
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Prov Sadovsky as Mizgir in Alexander Ostrovsky’s “The Snow Maiden”. Maly Theatre, Moscow, 1922
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Prov Sadovsky as Mizgir in Alexander Ostrovsky’s “The Snow Maiden”. Maly Theatre, Moscow, 1922
Italian pencil on paper. 57 × 44 cm
© Maly Theatre Museum, Moscow
Michael WERBOFF. Feodor Chaliapin as Boris Godunov in Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov”. 1925
Michael WERBOFF. Feodor Chaliapin as Boris Godunov in Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov”. 1925
Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Opera. Collection, New York. Photograph. Research Archive of the Russian Academy of Arts, St. Petersburg
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of King Gustav V of Sweden. 1927
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of King Gustav V of Sweden. 1927
Oil on canvas. Location unknown. Photograph. Research Archive of the Russian Academy of Arts. First publication
Michael Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of the Writer Georges Courteline. 1928
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of the Writer Georges Courteline. 1928
Oil on canvas. Location unknown. Photograph. Research Archive of the Russian Academy of Arts. First publication
Michael WERBOFF. William Church Osborn. 1945
Michael WERBOFF. William Church Osborn. 1945
Oil on canvas. 101.6 × 76.2 cm. Photograph
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art
William Church Osborn (Eighth president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart, 17th Duke of Alba. 1951
Michael WERBOFF. Portrait of Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart, 17th Duke of Alba. 1951
Oil on canvas. 77 × 63 cm
© Prado Museum, Madrid
Catalogue of Portraits by Michael Werboff, with his “Portrait of Ivan Bunin” (1951) on the cover
Catalogue of Portraits by Michael Werboff, with his “Portrait of Ivan Bunin” (1951) on the cover, published for Werboff’s 1982 solo exhibition at the Cayuga Museum of History and Art, Auburn, NY, USA
Michael Werboff. Photograph with his portrait of Ivan Bunin. Early 1970s
Michael Werboff. Photograph with his portrait of Ivan Bunin. Early 1970s
Archive of Valery Matisov
Michael Werboff in Moscow. Photograph in front of the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Reproduced in the “Voice of the Motherland” newspaper. 1977
Michael Werboff in Moscow. Photograph in front of the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Reproduced in the “Voice of the Motherland” newspaper. 1977

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