Franco-Russian painter, draughtsman, designer and etcher. Born in St Petersburg. Studied from 1905 at the Academy of Fine Arts there under Kardofsky. Awarded in 1913 a travelling scholarship which took him to Italy and Spain in company with Choukhaieff; influenced by the hard, clear drawing of Mantegna and his circle. 1914-17 in Russia. From 1917 to 1919 journeyed to China, Mongolia and Japan, where he made many paintings and drawings of racial types, street scenes and the theatre. Settled in Paris in 1919, and became a French citizen. Painted mural decorations for a restaurant and private houses, designed sets and costumes for the ballet Sémiramis, to music by Honegger, and illustrated with his etchings René Maran's Batouala (1928). Was a member of the Citroën Central Africa ('Croisière Noire') Expedition 1924, and official artistic adviser to the Citroën Asiatic Expedition 1931. His later paintings were more loosely and sketchily executed and included a number of mythological subjects. Director of the Painting Department of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1934-7. Last months in Paris and Capri. Died in Paris.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.370-1