Robert Pikelny started his artistic education in Moscow, where his parents settled in 1908. He discovered painting through the artists at the Tretiakov Gallery. The latter was an important gallery in Moscow, which exhibited works by Repin, Vassili Ivanovitch Sourikov, and Valentin Alexandrovitch Serov. Pikelny’s childhood bedroom was decorated with reproductions of these artists. Later, he was more attracted by Jack of Diamond artists. This Russian movement was influenced by Fauvism and Cubism. Ilya Machkov, Pikelny’s first teacher, and Chevtchenko, a painter influenced by Cézanne and attracted by Paris, both joined this movement.
In 1922, Pikelny traveled to Vienna and Berlin. He met Jean Pougny who became his friend. In 1923, Pikelny arrived in Paris and settled in a studio next door to Pougny. The latter introduced him to the Russian Artists Society to which he, Pailes, and Kikoine belonged. His close friends were Lazare Volovick, Vladimir Naiditch, and Ossip Lubitch, as well as art lover André Fize, who supported him and believed in his talent. Pikelny illustrated and wrote in various artistic journals and magazines. He met Éliane Steinville, a model at the Grande Chaumiere, who became his wife. During World War II, Pikelny took refuge in the south of France. He returned to Paris right after the Liberation and traveled to Italy, Spain, and Turkey.
Nieszawer & Princ
"Artistes juifs de l’Ecole de Paris 1905-1939"
Editons Somogy 2015