Russian painter; born at Odessa, 1862, of well-to-do parents. According to a family tradition, he is descended on his father's side from a family of Spanish refugees at Padua, which removed in the eighteenth century to Galicia, assuming the name Pasternak, and later moved to Odessa. His early years were spent in the busy atmosphere of a South-Russian inn. Pasternak entered the classical gymnasium at Odessa and attended the school of drawing there; in the latter he gave great promise and attracted considerable attention. On graduating from the gymnasium, he went to Moscow, where he entered the university and endeavored to gain admittance to the Moscow school of painting. There was no vacancy at the school, but Pasternak had aroused the interest of Professor Sorokin and was admitted to the latter's private studio. From Moscow Pasternak went to Munich, where he studied for three years under the direction of Herterick, Löfftz, and Liezen Mayer. Returning to Moscow, Pasternak completed his studies at the university and received the degree of attorney at law, which entitled him to live in any part of Russia. Soon after, he married the pianist Rosa Kaufmann and settled in Moscow.

Pasternak's first great picture, "A Letter from Home," was exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1889. It received favorable comment and was purchased by Tretyakov for his private gallery. This painting was followed by "Prayer"; "In the School for the Blind"; "Homeward"; "The Débutante"; "Hour of Creation" (1893); and "Students Before the Examination" (1895). The last-mentioned gained for him a gold medal, and was purchased by the Luxembourg Museum. Among the more recent productions of Pasternak should be mentioned a series of carbon sketches for Tolstoi's novel "Resurrection," which aroused much interest in Paris, London, and Munich, and were widely copied even in America. He produced also "By Lamp-Light" and "Tolstoi in the Family Circle" (the latter was purchased for the Alexander Museum at St. Petersburg), in addition to a number of smaller oil-paintings and many drawings, sketches, studies, and illustrations. Since 1894 Pasternak has filled a professorship at the Moscow school of painting. He is well known not only in Russia, but also in western Europe.

  • Pawetti, in Ost und West, 1902, No. 6, p. 372.
H. R. J. G. L.
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