Victor Podgoursky

В. С. Подгурский

Victor Podgoursky

Victor Stepanovich Podgoursky (1893–1969)

Виктор Степанович ПОДГУРСКИЙ (18931969). Русский текст – внизу страницы ⬇

Artist, decorator, educator

Born in Tomsk province on September 1, 1893; died in Tashkent, USSR, in 1969. Had wife Tatiana Ivanovna (b. 1893) and son Valery (b. 1921).

One of four sons of a Polish aristocrat exiled in Siberia, Podgoursky grew up in Vladivostok and studied in the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1914–1918, under the tutelage of the renowned painters Arkhipov and Vasnetstov. Having arrived in Shanghai in 1920, he initially worked as a press cartoonist, teacher of painting and figure drawing, and proof-reader for the Russian-language newspaper New Shanghai Life. In 1921, Podgoursky became one of the founders of the First Russian School, first located on Kunping Road and later on Yulin Road, and he remained one of the teachers through the 1930s.

Having taken part in The China Press cover design contest in 1925, he lost it to B. L. Mamysh. In 1927, he collaborated with B. J. Semicheff and Sapajou to publish the magazine Solntze (The Sun).

In 1925, Podgoursky exhibited his paintings at several shows, including an exhibition alongside eleven Chinese artists at the Palais Cafe. His first personal show took place at the Alliance Francaise on Avenue Joffre in December 1926, which earned him praise for his versatility. Three years later, Arthur Sowerby of the China Journal found Podgoursky’s paintings "of high caliber," a head above anything else exhibited in Shanghai; he expressed amazement that such a talented artist should price his pastels at $100 at the highest, and often as low as $50. (TCP June 20, 1929)

A member of the Shanghai Art Club since 1929, Podgoursky was the club's resident instructor in anatomy, life drawing and still life, and also a critic. The Club's members admitted owing much to his presence, as "the guide and the philosopher of the art classes" and "an always attractive exhibitor at the annual displays." (NCH Jan 17, 1934)

Podgoursky traveled extensively around China, studying ancient architecture and artistic traditions. Among his largest commissions for interior decor were the French Club and the Sassoon House (Cathay Hotel). For the French Club, which opened in January 1926, he designed the colored glass in the windows "in certain card and tea rooms and several other parts of the building." (TCP, Jan 29,1926) The card room with three decorative panels of his design was described thus: "So far as the card room is concerned we shall be afraid to play in it unless provided with blinkers to concentrate attention on the game. Three highly unique panels which court card motifs, done in excellent colour, form the chief attraction of the room and are such as to distract anyone's mind from the game and would do so, probably, if the pictures were not as restful as the balance of the room." (NCH, 6 Feb 1926)

In 1928, Podgoursky's mural was installed in the foyer of the Capitol Theatre, designed by C. H. Gonda. For the Sassoon House / Cathay Hotel (1929), he created the frescoes and murals in the hall leading from the Bund entrance and round the tearoom and bar. (TCP Nov 6, 1931)

In February 1935, the artist departed for Florence and Venice to supervise the assembly of the ceiling mosaic for the HSBC building in Hong Kong (1935). The mosaic covering 4,000 square feet depicted 50 life-size figures, as well as "scores of animals, machines, ships and kindred subjects." It was executed in "bright unsoftened colors" without half-tones. The centerpiece in the shape of an inverted half-cylinder evoked the theme of "progress" and depicted the period from prehistoric to modern, "with emphasis on industry and transport, the occidental and oriental contrasted on opposing sectors." There were also images of the sun, Greek gods, the signs of the Zodiac, Chinese gods of fortune and Japanese spirits. (NCDN, Feb 6, 1935)


Contrary to the wide-spread belief, Podgoursky did not work on the ceiling of Shanghai's HSBC; that mosaic was set in Shanghai, in 1923, by two specially invited Italian masters from the paintings of the London artist George Murray.

Podgoursky was the author of the first version of the Pushkin's Monument, financed jointly by the Russian community and foreign donors and installed in 1937 in a quiet square in the French Concession. The book Diamond Jubilee of the International Settlement (1940) reproduces ten of his works. Among his smaller commissions, there were the modernist murals in the art deco residence, built by I. P. Tomashevsky on Route Ferguson, in 1941. A mural of his design decorated Avan Villa, the Tata family residence on Tifeng Road (source).

Podgoursky's residence in Shanghai was initially in Joffre Terrace, 927 Avenue Joffre; he later moved to 79 Rue Pere Robert. In the 1930s and 1940s, his studio was located in the Bearn Apartments, on the corner of Avenue Joffre and Avenue Dubail (at No. 6 Avenue Dubail). Two doors down from him, at No. 10, was the studio of another prominent émigré artist, Michail Kitchiguin (Kichigin).

In 1947, Victor Podgoursky and family returned to the USSR, where his son Valery was imprisoned and handed a lengthy prison sentence. Podgoursky taught art at the Kazan Art School until 1956. Although his legacy was unrecognized in the USSR until after his death, he was an influential mentor to his students: many thanked him for the introduction of the art of Van Gogh, Gauguin and Matisse found in his large collection of art books brought from Shanghai.

Postcard showing two of the three panels designed by Podgoursky for the card room in the French Club. delcampe.net.
Card room with three wall panels designed by Podgoursky. The China Press, Feb 1926.
Murals designed by Podgoursky for the Cathay Hotel. NCSN June 1930.
Mural designed by Podgoursky for the Cathay Hotel. NCSN June 1930.
Foyer of the Cathay Hotel, leading to the passage where Podgoursky's murals were installed. Fairmont Hotel.
HSBC in Hong Kong, with Podgoursky-designed ceiling mosaic (1935). HSBC.
Podgoursky-designed ceiling mosaic in HSBC building in Hong Kong (1935). Gwulo.
Elements of the Progress panel in HSBC building in Hong Kong (1935). Gwulo.
Unveiling of the Pushkin's Monument in June 1937.
Podgoursky's studio in 1940. Malcolm Rosholt, HPC.
Podgoursky's studio in 1940. Malcolm Rosholt, HPC.
Podgoursky's painting dated 1936. Malcolm Rosholt, HPC.
Podgoursky's painting Mount Putuo. 1924. Artchive
Location of Victor Podgoursky's art studio, in the Bearn building, Shanghai.

Виктор Степанович ПОДГУРСКИЙ (1893–1969) – Развернуть

Биография из Н. К. Крадина:

1 сентября 1893 (село Кетское, Нарымский край, ныне Томская обл.) – 1969 (Ташкент). Живописец, монументалист и педагог.

Внук польского дворянина, сосланного в Сибирь за участие в Польском восстании 1863 года. Отец работал подрядчиком, мать – педагог. Старший из четырех братьев. В детстве жил во Владивостоке. В 1914–1918 учился в МУЖВЗ. В 1918 вернулся во Владивосток, устроился работать в Совет депутатов заведующим отделом регистрации оружия, рисовал лозунги.

С 1920 жил в Шанхае. Недолго работал политическим карикатуристом в газете «Шанхайская жизнь». В 1920–1922 преподавал рисунок, живопись и пластическую анатомию в Китайском народном университете, в 1923–1927 – в Шанхайском институте живописи, с 1928 – в колледже Син-Хуа. В 1929 стал членом Шанхайского Арт-клуба, где с 1929 преподавал рисунок и живопись (среди его учеников был К. К. Клуге).

Много путешествовал по Китаю, изучая старую архитектуру и культурные традиции. Писал картины, изображающие быт и природу Китая. В 1925 музей Генуи приобрел 4 его работы «Типы китайских крестьян». В 1926 провел персональную выставку во Французском муниципальном колледже, большинство работ с которой было продано. Участвовал в Выставке русских художников (1928), выставках Арт-клубе (1930, июнь и декабрь; 1931, 1936), объединения художников "Ателье" (1942).

Сотрудничал с шанхайскими архитекторами по оформлению зданий (Сассун хаузе, Французский клуб и др.). В 1935 совершил поездку в Италию для изучения техники мозаики, чтобы выполнить заказ на мозаичную работу для Шанхайского банка в Гонконге. Исполнил бюст А. С. Пушкина, установленный во Французской концессии к 100-летию со дня гибели поэта (этот первый в Китае памятник Пушкину был уничтожен в 1944, в период японской оккупации). В книге "Бриллиантовый юбилей международного сеттльмента Шанхая" (1940) воспроизведено 10 работ художника.

В 1947 вернулся с семьей в СССР. До 1956 преподавал в Казанском художественном училище.

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