A biography

(in the picture: Olinsky at the beginnings of XX Century by photographer Jean Luc Carraski)


1886 – 1910
Olinsky was born on 28th March 1886 at Slavateck in West Slavonija. He was the eleventh child of Solomon Borsivic Olinsky, a corn merchant settled at Grodno and Natasha Smirnoff, a niece of the famous vodka merchant.
When Olinsky was born his father was 80 years old and still oversaw his trade personally hoping that the last-born, once finished his studies, might take his business in hand. 
In 1910 Olinsky painted a portrait of his father in lead-pencil. The portrait is still kept.

In summer Olinsky travelled over the peninsula of Gyda on the east coast of the Lapten Sea and, despite the rigorous temperatures of those places, he went on painting landscape from life. 
All his life long he travelled almost every year.

1918 – 1923
He attended the Celjabinsk Fine Arts School and his work were refused at the Painters’ Association Show of this town

Olinsky was 37 years old when he settled in Madrid. He entered the studio of the academic painter Alvarez de Sotomayor, the director of Prado. The relationship between them was conflictual because of their differences of opinion about art, poltics and life.

1923 – 1943
Because of many artistic disappointments he decided to enter the Valladolid Franciscan Convent hoping to find solace in religion.
Some decades later he confessed that only was an excuse not to be involved in the world conflict.

At the beginning of 1943 his religious crisis being passed, he threw off the cowl and started painting again.

He moved to Paris and associated with André Breton but he didn’t completely share surrealistic ideas.

He bought an issue of Mickey Mouse Adventures at a news-stand at Gare de Lyon and was struck by it.
He repudiated all his previous art and considered Disney the only great artist of the 20th century. 
At the end of 1946 he settled in New York but the cynical and small-town (still “subjected” to European culture) artistic set disappointed him.

He decided to move to Hollywood

He met Walt Disney’s sister at a party. He courted her insistently and succeeded in having a strong love and non-love affair with her. Walt, who was jealous, tried to send him away by accusing him of being communist even though he described himself as a monarchist.

He returned to New York. 
He settled at his brother’s, Judovin Olinsky, a psychiatrist who treated him

1950 – 1960
He spent his time in Venice. 
His cousin Boris sent him a copy of his translation of Goethe’s “Theory of Colours”. He painted constantly under the influence of Disney and Venetian art. He was not interested in exhiting his works.

He returned to New York. He inherited his brother’s flat and a certain sum of money wich enabled him to live confortably and to associate with New York artistic and intellectual smart set. 

At an evening party with the main pop artists, he quarrelled with Warhol who provoked him and courted him openly and in a vulgar way.

1976 – 1986
He started a long period of artistic research.
People thought  he was dead; as a matter of fact he never went out. He only exchanged letters with the famous Italian botanist Fabio Bedini who encouraged him to continue his artistic research."

He moved to Europe and he went on working hard to his preferite themes

His first daughter Mimì was born

His son Teo was born

He adopted a wire-haired dachshund breed Prussian

Recent years
After the birth of his second child Teo, Olinsky left off in isolation. He will keep in touch with the outside world only through his Italian biographer’s prudent intercession: Prof. Paolo Sandano. He is nowadays the Archive’s Administator. 

Archivio Opera Olinsky


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