Oscar Rabine was born on 2 January 1928 in Moscow. His parents — Yakov Rakhmailovich Rabine (from Ukraine) and Veronika Martynovna Anderman (from Latvia) — were doctors. The boy became an orphan at a very early age. In fact, he was adopted by the family of Ye. L. Kropyvnytsky, an artist and poet. The man taught Oscar art and later became his father-in-law. In 1946-1948 Oscar Rabine studied in Riga Art Academy, and then settled in Moscow. In 1948-1949 he studied there in Surikov Art Institute, but was expelled for “formalism”. Until 1958, the young man worked as a railway loader and a foreman builder, then at RSFSR Art Foundation enterprise of design and decorations. Rabine was one of the most active members of “Lianosovo circle”, being not only a talented artist, but also a manager of “informal” avant-garde. Oscar exhibited his art in USSR since 1957, the first occasion being the young artists’ exhibition on the 6th International Youth Festival. The following expositions were underground and half-underground for quite a long time: one of the exhibitions he took part in — on a wasteland place in Belyayevo — is remembered as “bulldozer exhibition” (1974), because it was brutally broken up by the Soviet state with the use of bulldozers.
Rabine was first exhibited abroad in 1964 — in London, at collective exhibition “Aspects of Contemporary Soviet Art”.
In 1965 the owner of London Grosvenor Gallery Eric Estoric arranges the first personal exhibition of the artist in the gallery. 70 works of the artist were shown there. At the same time, Rabine moved from Lianosovo to Moscow.
Rabine’s figurative art — landscapes and still life — shows things people see every day in a wilfully routine way: lopsided suburban houses, a small railway station near Moscow, a dinner table in a village house and so on; they all constitute a special sign system of Oscar Rabine, rendering a cheerless atmosphere of Soviet everyday life in his series.
In 1978 the artist emigrated to France and settled in Paris.
After that, Rabine’s art lost much of its social orientation. The artist’s compositions became more complicated and fractional, the colours — more intense; his earlier favoured grey and brown gamma changed to prevailing green and blue hues with stark contrast of red and yellow («Freedom», 1991, the author’s collection). In this period, Rabine composes his works as a collage of a many objects; one of his devices is combination of quotations from his earlier art (crashing “Lianosovo” houses, snowstorm wreaths and so on) with depicting of French realities («Hurray 2», 1991, the author’s collection). Recently, Rabine has been often depicting the Jewish quarter Le Marais in Paris («The Butcher’s Shop », 1992, the author’s collection).
Oscar Rabine lives in Paris. His personal exhibitions were held in Jersey City (1984), after the Iron Curtain had fallen — in Moscow (1991), St-Petersburg (1993). Rabine also took part in group exhibitions — in those of Second Russian Avant-garde Artists in Lugano (1970), Bochum (1974), London (1977), Paris (1989), Moscow (1990–91), Tokyo (1991). His personal exhibitions include:
1998 — Mimi Ferzt Gallery, New York, USA
2001 — Eric de Montbel Gallery, Paris, France
2004 — Peter Nahum At The Leicester Galleries, London UK
2007 — “Oscar Rabine. Valentyna Kropyvnytska, Alexander Rabine. Painting and Graphic Art from Moscow, Paris and Dusseldorf Private Collections”, A. S. Pushkin State Museum of Art, Moscow, Russia
2008 — “Oscar Rabine. Three Lives. Retrospective”, Tretyakov State Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2008 — Musée d'art et d'archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux, France
2009 — “Works on Paper”, Mimi Ferzt Gallery, New York, USA
2013 — “Oscar Rabine. Graphic works of 1950-ies – 1960-ies”, Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia
January 2, 1928