Valentin Shabaeff-Firsoff


V. A. Shabaeff-Firsoff. Gloria Lesser.

Valentin Aleksandrovich Shabaeff (Shabaeff-Firsoff) (1891–1978)

Валентин Александрович ШАБАЕВ-ФИРСОВ (1891–1978). Русский текст – внизу страницы

Sculptor, artist

Born in Beloomut, Moscow region, on July 16, 1891; died in Montreal, Canada, on March 5, 1978.

Educated in Moscow, Shabaeff focused on the Byzantine art. After his emigration he lived in Harbin, where he practiced drawing, illustration and sculpture. In 1923, he moved to Shanghai.

In 1926, Shabaeff created sculpted nude Atlantidae on top of the second-floor columns and other relief elements for the interior of the French Club (1926). While most of the original decor has been lost, the Atlantidae remain the largest surviving original elements. They are often mentioned in the connection with prudish Communists who requested to have the nudes covered up in the 1950s, to make the place more suitable for the Party officials’ visits. Recalling his Shanghai work for the publication in Canadian Art, Shabaeff mentioned “designing, among other works, bronze sculptures for His Majesty’s Hotel [Majestic Hotel? –– KK] and a stone facade for the Chinese Customs House at Shanghai.”

In 1929, Shabaeff left China for the US. He eventually settled to Canada. According to Gilden’s Art Gallery, he maintained a studio and a residence in Montreal, at #60–429 West Pender, together with his wife Sonia and “represented Canada with painting at the New York World’s Fair in 1939.” He worked as a painter and sculptor, and produced ceramics, reliefs and murals. He also taught elementary drawing at the Vancouver Art School.

In 1939–1940, Shabaeff created art for the Hotel Vancouver in anticipation of the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to the city in May 1939. His works for the hotel received high praise: “In the splendid cafe, Valentin Shabaeff, Russian-Canadian artist of great reputation, now living in Vancouver, has created two wonderful panels in gold-leaf and Venetian red for the ends of the room.” Additional information and images of his work are at Vancouver As It Was.

“[Mr. Shabaeff] couldn’t stand Americans & came to Canada—his best friend in Montreal is Fritz Brandtner. He’s color-blind, which may account for the curious magenta lips on the Madonna & Child that make them look a bit like perfume ads in the New Yorker. . . . ([Mrs. Shabaeff] says Lismer said “Shabaeff is the greatest artist in Canada, but he’s a devil,” which I put among the New Yorker’s Remarks We Doubt ever Got Made Department, but perhaps she hypnotizes people into murmuring the right responses). –– The Diaries of Northrop Frye, 1942-1955, Volume 8, p. 182.

Atlantidae in the French Club foyer. L'Illustration, 1926.
Atlantidae in the French Club foyer in our time. Richard C. Edwards, 2019.
The second-floor foyer of the French Club. The China Press, Feb 13, 1926.
The second-floor foyer of the former French Club in our days. Shanghai Sammy.
Facade of the Custom House on the Bund, built in 1927. Shanghai Sammy.
Shabaeff’s bas-relief work at the New Vancouver Hotel, 1939. State Archive of Canada.
Shabaeff’s bas-relief work at the Montreal Central Railway Station, completed in 1943. Montreal Imtl.

Валентин Александрович ШАБАЕВ-ФИРСОВ (1891–1978) – развернуть

Биография с сайта

Живописец, график, художник-монументалист, мозаичист, керамист и скульптор.

Художественное образование получил в Москве и Петрограде. Изучал византийскую живопись. После революции эмигрировал в Харбин. Выполнил скульптурный бюст А. А. Блока к юбилейному вечеру памяти поэта в Харбине (1922). Сотрудничал в харбинской газете «Новости жизни», где публиковались его сатирические карикатуры и дружеские шаржи. Создал серии рисунков «Портретная галерея» и «Старые знакомые», выполненные итальянским карандашом. Летом 1923 переехал в Шанхай, где также рисовал для периодической печати, занимался скульптурой. В 1930-е работал в Японии, Индокитае. Проектировал бронзовые монументальные скульптуры для зданий.

В конце 1930-х переселился в США, затем переехал в Канаду. Жил в Монреале. Давал частные уроки рисования. Вместе с женой Соней Шабаевой создавал мозаики, писал иконы в византийском стиле, картины с изображением конных групп, образы по мотивам русских сказаний. Занимался декоративной керамикой и мелкой пластикой. Работы продавались в монреальских магазинах.

Исполнил рельефы для отеля «Ванкувер» в Ванкувере и для Центрального вокзала в Монреале. В 1939 представлял искусство Канады на Международной выставке в Нью-Йорке. Провел персональные выставки в галерее Dominion в Монреале и в Fine Art Gallery в Торонто (1949, 1951).