The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

April 4, 2017

April 4, 1862

The father of Boris Pasternak has been perhaps unfairly overshadowed by his son. Here is a chronology of Leonid Pasternak's life.


1862Born April 4, in Odessa, to Jewish parents. The young Leonid Pasternak develops an early interest in drawing, despite his parents' disapproval.
1879Begins lessons at the Odessa School of Drawing.
1881Enters the medical school of Moscow University, in the hope of also studying at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.
1882Still unable to study at the Moscow School of Painting, takes private lessons with the academician Professor E. Sorokin.
1883Abandons medicine for law and transfers to the University at Odessa, which permits him to travel abroad. Attends Munich Academy of Art.
1885Completes law degree and one year of military service in Odessa. Meets Rosalia Kaufmann, the pianist.
1888Paints a large-scale genre painting, A Letter from Home, which is purchased by Pavel Tretyakov for his Moscow gallery. It is exhibited at the Wanderers' exhibition and favourably reviewed.
1889Marries Rosalia Kaufmann; they move to Moscow. Becomes acquainted with the younger painters Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin, and others in the circle of Vasilii Polenov, a member of the Wanderers group. Pasternak also meets Ilia Repin, the leading realist painter. Works on the new review, The Artist, and later becomes its art director. Establishes his own drawing school, based on the teaching methods of drawing from life used in Munich and Paris. Visits Paris, where he sees the work of the French Impressionists.
1890Son Boris is born.
1892The North magazine commissions him to illustrate Tolstoy's War and Peace.
1893Meets Tolstoy. Second son, Alexander, is born.
1894Joins the faculty of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.
1897Tolstoy invites him to illustrate Resurrection. Exhibits with the World of Art group in St. Petersburg.
1900Visits Paris, where his canvas, Students Before the Examination, is acquired by the Musée du Luxembourg (it now hangs in the Musée d'Orsay). This painting and his drawings for Resurrection are exhibited at the Paris Universal Exhibition. In Moscow, his daughter Josephine is born. Pasternak helps to found the group called the Thirty-Six Artists, forerunner of the Union of Russian Artists.
1902Second daughter, Lydia, is born.
1903Exhibits at the first Union of Russian Artists show, in Moscow.
1904Invited to organize the art section of the international exhibition of art and industry in Düsseldorf. Visits Venice.
1905Elected a member of the Academy of Fine Arts. The abortive Revolution of 1905 closes the Moscow School; with his family he spends several months in Berlin, where he gets to know Lovis Corinth, Max Liebermann, and other German Impressionists.
1907Travels in Holland, Belgium and England.
1910Tolstoy dies. His widow, Sofia Andreyevna, summons Pasternak to make a final, deathbed drawing of him at the railway station of Astapovo, where he died.
1912Visits Germany and Italy.
1914-18First World War.
1914Lithograph, The Wounded Soldier (sales to go to the support of the wounded), is a great popular success.
1917February Revolution; October Bolshevist coup captures the Winter Palace.
1918-20Civil War in Russia.
1921Moves with his wife and two daughters to Berlin, where he lives and works until 1938. His two sons remain in Moscow.
1924Travels in Egypt and Palestine.
1927First solo exhibition at Galerie Hartberg, Berlin.
1932Second solo exhibition at Galerie Hartberg, accompanied by the publication of a monograph on his work by the art critic Max Osborn.
1938Visits London and prepares for return to Moscow.
1939Death of Rosalia in London. Britain declares war on Germany. Pasternak moves to Oxford to live with his daughter Lydia.
1945Dies in Oxford on May 31, aged 83.

The same site is where we found this wonderful picture by Leonid Pasternak of
Marus’ka, the family cat.  (London 1936; black chalk on paper.)

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