Aaron (Arnold) Lakhovsky
15.01.1880 - 07.01.1937
Imagine a boy sneaking out onto a Kiev rooftop– not to scare off the pigeons or to fool around, but to take out his paper and watercolours, and with all his soul draw the city from this bird’s-eye view. That boy was Arnold Lakhovsky - he was living then in a cramped small room with no amenities, along with other students who were working for a master decorator. The boy often fell sick, but managed to keep up with his duties while dedicating his every spare moment to painting. Working as an apprentice to the decorator, the young Lakhovsky saved 45 rubles and decided to go to Odessa to enter the drawing school there. Expelled in the fifth grade, he went on to study in Germany: in those days Munich and Paris were very appealing for young painters. In Munich, Lakhovsky studied the works of the old masters, and when he ran out of money and couldn’t buy a ticket home, the captain of a ship sailing along the Danube agreed to take the young man along for free. The affable young man won the sympathy of the ship’s buffet waiter, a Tatar, who fed Lakhovsky for the whole journey. Of Jewish descent, Lakhovsky faced difficulty enrolling in the school of the Academy of Fine Arts, and had to receive special permission to live in Moscow. It proved worth the trouble, as Lakhovsky went on to become a student of Ilya Repin himself. In 1925, Arnold Lakhovsky left Russia to seek a new home in France. He quickly became part of the Russian artistic community there, and within a couple of years his works were being exhibited all across Europe. In 1933, Lakhovsky was invited to the United States; he lived in New York and Boston, and became very successful both as a teacher and as a portrait-painter, with many commissions, but sadly his spectacular ascent in art came to a sudden halt, when the artist was diagnosed with acute leukemia.