John Mcewen comments on Julia Worswick
This picture, signed ‘Boris Pastoukho, Paris, 1933–4’, today hangs in the Reading Room, which opens off to the left of the Foyer (the main tea room) at Claridge’s. The artist was a White Russian, exiled by the Red Revolution, with a life story as incomplete as his painted signature. his work, which can be had at auction, appears under a number of spellings: Pastoukhoff, Pastuchoff, Pastukov. his subjects are portraits, saucy nudes, street scenes and flowers, close-up or arranged in vases. They fetch in the low thousands.
Pastoukhoff was born and began his art education in Kiev and graduated at Zagreb’s Academy of Fine Arts in 1920. he established himself in Yugoslavia as a portraitist of note, gaining commissions from King Alexander and others of the royal family. in 1930, he settled in Paris, like many White Russians, and exhibited at the salon des Tuileries, as well as having solo shows in a number of commercial galleries.
he exhibited in England at the Royal Academy and the Royal society of Portrait Painters as well as in italy, spain and Ecuador. Among museums that have his work is the Brooklyn Museum of Fine Arts, New York.
This picture is of his wife, Julia Worswick, born Julia Pavlovna Dragunova in sébastopol in 1903 and also an artist. she escaped Russia and became his pupil in Paris, where she later exhibited alongside Derain and Van Dongen. she died in London in 1976. how the portrait came to be in Claridge’s is not certain, but Pastoukhoff, a frequent guest, was known to settle his hotel bills not with money, but with his paintings.