Vladimir Pavlosky (11884-1944)

Vladimir Pavlosky was an artist by family tradition, born into a long line of Russian interior decorators skilled in painting, gilding and carving. He immigrated to the United States at age twenty, five years after the death of his father, to avoid service in the Tsar’s Army. Upon arriving in New York, he quickly left for Boston, which was known internationally as the center for learning and art in America, and set up a small studio. Because of his father’s reputation and his own skills as an allegorical painter, Pavlosky soon received mural commissions from churches and theatres in the Boston area, including St. Mary’s Polish Church, The Fenway Theater, the Orpheum Theater and the Strand Theater in Lynn, Massachusetts.

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In the early 1920s, Pavlosky’s painting The White Peacock was awarded second prize at an exhibition of Boston artists at the Museum of Fine Arts, a show where John Singer Sargent won first prize with his Lake O’Hare. Recognition of Pavlosky’s talent came soon after, and he began to exhibit regularly at Doll & Richards Gallery on Newbury Street and at Vose Galleries in group shows organized by the Boston Society of Watercolor Painters. When asked about his affinity for Boston, he explained, “I don’t know anywhere to go and find better subjects for sea paintings than here. Down on T Wharf you see the fishermen and the sailors. Many of the fishermen along the water front are Italians, who have much color in their costumes and life. You have the sails, the boats, the color of the sea.” [i]

Pavlosky painted often in Gloucester, and enjoyed capturing the everyday lives of the fishermen. He considered Winslow Homer his muse and painted in a similarly vigorous style, mostly in watercolor but also in oil. About his harbor paintings, a Boston art critic wrote:

The subjects are familiar enough, countless numbers of other artists have painted them: Shacks and boats, noonday reflections, mending nets and drying sails. But Mr. Pavlosky has an oriental appreciation of the splendor of effects and fills his pictures to the utmost with an elaboration of detail. Shipping of devious description, piles covered with seaweed, men at work on deck or bending to the task of propelling a rowboat, all surge through his pictures. [ii]

Pavlosky was involved in the art communities of the North Shore, and was a member of the Gloucester Art Association, the Gloucester Society of Artists, the Rockport Art Association and the North Shore Arts Association. In Boston, he belonged to the Boston Watercolor Society, the Copley Society and the Guild of Boston Artists, and exhibited at these venues as well as at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Institute of Art, the Grace Horne Gallery and the Doll & Richards Galleries, both in Boston, Carson Pirie and Scott, Chicago, and in Maine at the Ogunquit Art Club.

References: See Falk, Who Was Who in American Art (1999); BPL Artist Files.


[i] Unidentified newspaper clipping, dated March 13, 1924, Boston Public Library Artist Files.

[ii] Unidentified newspaper clipping, dated October 24, 1924, Boston Public Library Artist Files.

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