Pasternak, Leonid Osipovich

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PASTERNAK, LEONID OSIPOVICH (1862–1945), Russian artist. Born in Odessa, Pasternak studied medicine in Moscow, but in 1883 went to Munich to enroll at the Academy of Art. Returning to Odessa, he did a full year's military service, then met and married the pianist Rosa Kaufmann. In 1888 his first large canvas, Letter from Home, was bought by the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. The Pasternaks moved to Moscow, where he opened a school of painting, edited a periodical, The Artist, and for some years taught at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. He was a close friend of Leo Tolstoy, whom he often portrayed. His illustrations for Tolstoy's Resurrection were exhibited at the Paris World Exhibition, 1900. In 1921 Pasternak, with his wife, went to Paris, and in 1938 immigrated to England, spending his last years in Oxford. Pasternak was at his best not as an oil painter but as a draftsman, whose portrait studies superbly catch the sitter's character. He painted portraits of outstanding Zionists, among them *Bialik, *Sokolow, *Tchernichowsky, and *Weizmann. In 1924 he visited Palestine, where he made drawings and watercolors of the countryside. He was the father of the poet and novelist Boris *Pasternak.


Russell, in: Studio, 161 (1961), 98–101; Bialik, in: Saturday Review (April 4, 1959), 18–21.

[Alfred Werner]