Tag Archives: Montparnasse

Isaac Dobrinsky Biography- Jacob Samuel

Isaac Dobrinsky was born in 1891 in the city of Makarov, Ukraine. His father was a religiously observant Jew and he himself was brought up in a traditional way: he studied in a “Heder” (Jewish elementary school) and in a “Yashiva” (Jewish high school). He always found himself attracted to art. So he moved to Kiev in order to study sculpture after his father’s sudden death. 
Finally, after working as a model for terracotta sculptures, he started learning sculpting in a studio. He worked as a storekeeper in a factory during this period. In 1912, he won a prize for his sculpture which allowed him to move to Paris where he lived until his death in 1973. Upon his arrival in France, he became friends with the sculptor Marec Szwarc and the painter Chaim Soutine who helped him settle down in Paris and shared their studio with him. Dobrinsky suffered from a disease that makes him neglect sculpture in favor of painting a year after his arrival. His first painting was shown at the Salón de Independientes a few months later.

In 1914, he joined the French foreign legion, but he was soon released on medical discharge. Then he returned to Paris and attended the Colarossi Academy, where he met Vera Kremer (her father, Arkadi Kremer, was the founder of the Bund, the Jewish socialist party in Eastern Europe).

The two got married in 1926. In 1934, he moved to a larger studio in Montparnasse, and in the next few years he made his major breakthrough in the art scene during that period of time. These were happy days for the young couple, full with creativity and muse. But the Second World War had put an end to this harmony. In the first two years of the German occupation, Dobrinsky and his family stayed in Paris, but in 1942, in order to escape deportation, they fled to a small village called Dordogne. Only in 1944, after the liberation, Dobrinsky returned to Paris, just to find that the sculptures he had left behind were destroyed. In 1950, he was invited by Serge and Rachel Pludermacher (the founders of an orphan home) to paint the portraits of the children in their institute. In the course of two years, Dobrinsky worked on about forty portraits of young boys and girls.

Dobrinsky used to say: “I don’t wish to be successful, I just wish to understand the mystery of creation”. And indeed, those who knew Dobrinsky say that there was something almost religious in his act of painting: very intimate and somewhat melancholic. Even though he had a heart condition during his last years alive, he had never stopped painting, and always in the same manner. When he died at the age of 81, he was in a mid of a still life painting he had never finished.

Isaac Pailes Biography – Jacob Samuel

Palies was born in the city of Kiev in the Ukraine, to a family of goldsmiths. His grandfather on his mother side was a wood burner. When Pailes was thirteen years old he begun showing interest in printmaking and sculpturing. 

His early sculpture works were acquired by the museum of Kiev. In 1910, he entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Kiev, where he met Isaac Rybak and Max Kaganovitch (both Jewish- Ukrainian artists) who will later become his art dealers for the next forty years. Pailes arrived at Paris in 1913, where he shared a room with Mane Katz (1894-1962) and studied sculpture in the Academy of Fine Arts of Paris. A year later, in 1914, he decided to go back to the Ukraine and Russia via London, Norway,Image Finland and Sweden.

When the Bolshevik revolution broke in Russia, he was sent to the front line in Crimea, but refused fighting. In exchange to a gold ring, he manages to get a ticket on a boat heading to Constantinople. In the following few years, Pailes is trying to come back to Paris and finally when he succeeds in doing so in 1919, his first stop in Paris is “La Rotonde” cafe. In the cafe he finds two of his friends Michel kikoine (1892-1968) and Isaac Dobrinsky (1891-1973), they welcomed him home and gave him clothes to wear.

In the first period of his resumed life in Paris, Pailes works as a model in order to support himself. In 1920, Pailes abandons sculpture and starts painting; also that year he becomes a collector of primitive art. During this period he kept a close relationship with the art lovers of his time: the commissioner Zamaron, the dealer Paquereau and Georges Berheim. Pailes was always very much attached to his Slavic origin- he participated in the activities of the Russian artists’ society, and he was the chairman of the Russian artists in Montparnasse. During War World II, Pailes settled in eastern Pyrenees and later in Auvergne. He joins a Belgium resistant group from Rochefort, called “Travail Obligatoire en Allemagne” (compulsory labor in Germany), and he stays in an attic for eleven months. When the day of liberation comes, Pailes returns to Montparnasse and continues with his painting. Only in 1948, Pailes paints his first abstract painting ever. His abstract paintings are perhaps the most interesting of his work. His maturity as an artist is well shown in these paintings, full with a rich texture and a colorful plate. Also expressing the pleasure he takes out of painting, having such a large number of painting.

Of all the painters, members of the “ Ecole de Paris”, he is the most unusual one, first his interesting biography, Pailes most certainly led an extraordinary life, second- the fact that he is not a proper painter, most of his career was actually in sculpture. And third, but most important- his painting are very unique, if we compare it to other member of “ Ecole de Paris”, his language in so individual- from the colors through his texture and to his themes. His work has no similarity to the work of any other painter in his times, he combines many of the artistic movements that was popular in his days- expressionism (shown in the massive texture of his painting), fauvism (the disharmonious colors and the diversity of it), Cubism (he describes figures as analyzed forms) and of- coarse Abstract painting.