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Nicholas Vasilieff Research Collection

Identifier: VAS
This collection contains research materials that were compiled in preparation for an exhibition entitled "Nicholas Vasilieff: A Retrospective Exhibition", which was held at the William Benton Museum of Art, located on the Storrs campus of the University of Connecticut from March 21 - May 29, 1977. The materials were compiled by Hildegarde Cummings, the Museum's Exhibitions Coordinator. Included is correspondence between Cummings and various collectors (both private and institutional), photographs, slides, and negatives of works by Vasilieff, clippings from magazines and newspapers, transcripts of oral interviews with Vasilieff's wife Magda, ephemera, from Vasilieff's personal archives, as well as audio and film recordings. The bulk of the materials come from the years 1974 - 1977, but materials from Vasilieff's personal archives date back to 1922.


  • Majority of material found within 1974 - 1977
  • 1922 - 1977


2.5 linear feet (7 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Nicholas Vasilieff (1887 - 1970) was born near Moscow, Russia, on November 3, 1887. He studied at the Moscow Academy of Fine Arts, graduating with high honors and the Academy's Gold Medal award in 1914. After serving in the first World War, he taught at his alma mater until 1919, before moving from Russia to Constantinople, eventually settling in New York City in 1920. Although his works were shown with the Societe Anonyme in the late 1920s, he did not hold a solo exhibition in New York until 1938. Afterwards, his works were included in the principal invitational annuals and biennials of the 1940s and 1950s. He was awarded first prize in the La Tausca Art Competition in 1948, and the Purchase Prize at the University of Illinois in 1954. Vasilieff's works were mostly abstract in nature, with bright blocks of color that one might not normally think of pairing. Most of his paintings were portraits and still lifes, but he was also known to paint landscapes and to portray scenes of every day life. Vasilieff spent his last fifteen years in Lanesborough, Massachusettes, before passing away in 1970. He was survived by his wife, Magda, whom he had married in 1935.
Nicholas Vasilieff Research Collection
Cassandra Shiflet

Repository Details

Part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives Repository

Philadelphia Museum of Art
PO Box 7646
Philadelphia PA 19101-7646 United States