Anna Staritsky (1908 –1981), a painter and graphic artist, was born on 22 January in Poltava (now Ukraine). She comes from and ancient aristocratic family. Her father Georgiy Yegorovich Staritsky was a lawyer, his rank being councillor of State. The world-famous academician V. I. Vernadsky was Anna’s uncle.

Since early age she was keen on drawing, music and writing poems. In 1921–1924 the girl attended the Drawing School of T. L. Sukhotina-Tolstaya, the studios of K. F. Yuon and V. A. Favorsky. In 1925 Anna went to France to cure tuberculosis of bones. In 1926 she lived in Prague in the family of her cousin G. V. Vernadsky, a historian and essayist. The same year Anna moved to Bulgaria, where she studied in Sophia Art Academy until 1931. In 1932 she settled in Brussels and studied there advertising art in La Cambre. In 1933–1940 Anna worked as a graphic artist in printing houses and advertising firms, she also painted portraits. In 1941 she met a Belgian doctor and painter Guillaume Hoorickx (Orix, 1900–1983), who would marry her after the war. {During the World War II, Guillaume took part in the Resistance and collaborated with Soviet intelligence, and both he and Anna had been imprisoned by the Nazis because of that.}

In the winter of 1943 –1944 Anna’s works were shown in Russian Artists salon in the Brussels gallery Toison d’Or. In 1946 the artist stayed for some months in Paris, then the couple moved to Nice to stay in 1947–1952, but then they came back to Paris. She belonged to the circles of Parisian art and literature avant-garde, having many friends there. In the beginning of 1950-ies she took interest in abstract art. She painted large abstract canvases, included Russian and French texts, typographic letters and calligrammes into her visual images. Anna made relief collages using twisted and wrinkles paper, wood, stones and dry leaves. The artist developed fantasy subjects, the topics of magic: “Exorcists”, “Magic”, “Secret revenge”, the triptych “Sorcers’ Altar”. Since 1960 Anna made woodcuts and lithography. She created easel sheets resembling old parchment manuscripts. Anna’s personal exhibitions were held in Brussels in galleries Ex- Libris (1947), Lou Cosyn (1948), Palais de Beaux-Arts (1961), Sanit Laurent (1961, 1963), Aux Bateliers (1966); in Paris galleries Calligrammes (1948), de Verneuil (1954), de Beaune (1955), Maywald (1963), Riquelme (1966), Les Mains Libres (1970, 1975), Rathé (1975), Carmen Martines (1977), as well as in Milan (1957), Neuchâtele (1960, 1964, 1967, 1973), Cannes (1965), Copenhagen (1966), Lyons (1970), Nice (1975) etc. Her works were shown in salons, such as Salon des réalités nouvelles (1951–1957), Comparaisons (1955–1958) and Salon de Mai (1975); Anna Staritsky took part in the exhibition of abstract art in  gallery de Beaune (1953) and in Divergences exhibition in Arnand gallery (1957), in group exhibitions 50 years of abstract art in Greuse gallery(1957), Russian Artists of Paris Schools in the House of French thought (1961), Russian View in Heidelberg (1974), More Russians in Françoise Tournié gallery (1975). In 1960–1970-ies Anna was creating handmade books.

The artist combined painting, collage, different kinds of prints, calligraphy, types and paper texturing: “The Song of Russian Land Fall” (1967), “Sourcer’s Book” (1976), “The Story of the Indian Kingdom” (1973), “Werewolf Conspiracy” (1979). In 1973–1980 Anna designed a number of Michel Butor’s books; the author, a friend of hers, dedicated his poem “Une chanson pour Don Juan” (A Song for Don Juan) (1973) and his book “Devises fantômes” (Mysterious Inscriptions), (1976) to her.

Christian Debussy produced a film about Anna Staritsky for Belgian TV in 1978.

Anna Staritsky died on 13 April 1981 in Paris. She is buried on Montparnasse Cemetery. In 2000 her retrospective exhibitions were held in Pierre Brullé gallery in Paris, in Von der Heydt-Museum in Wuppertal and in State Russian Museum in Saint-Petersburg.

Anna Staritsky

January 22, 1908
Poltava, Ukraine
February 13, 1981
Paris, France

Painter, graphic artist

Work

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