Portrait of Seweryn Obst

Odo Dobrowolski

  • Portrait of Seweryn Obst 2
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Basic information
Odo Dobrowolski
Portrait of Seweryn Obst
Date of creation
paper on wood panel pastel
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
38 x 40.5
Information about author
Odo Dobrowolski
Artist's lifetime
Odo (Otton) Dobrowolski (1883, Chernivtsi – 1917, Kyiv) was a Lviv artist of Polish-German origin. He is mainly known as a graphic artist, in particular a watercolorist, a master of pastels and lithographs. His parents were Jozef Dobrowolski, the Austrian governor of Galicia-Lodomeria, and Eugenia Wittich. Apparently, the artist was named after Otto the Great, the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He graduated from the gymnasium in Lviv. In the mid-1900s, Dobrowolski was in Krakow as a non-degree student of the Academy of Fine Arts. Between 1908 and 1909, thanks to the support of the artist Jan Styka, he was in Paris and then in Munich for a short while. After returning to Lviv between 1909 and 1910, the artist made an oil decorative panel for the confectionery of Gabriela Zapolska, a famous playwright, actress, and a bright representative of the Lviv elite. In 1911 and 1912, he was in Paris again. Then he was in Lviv, where during the Russian occupation he created a series of 10 lithographs, which were very popular. In June 1915, during the retreat of the Russians, the artist went to Kyiv, where he died under uncertain circumstances at the age of 34 in 1917. The artistic heritage of Odo Dobrowolski includes numerous cityscapes, particularly views of Lviv and Paris, as well as portraits, interior sketches, and images of nature. The works are stored in Borys Voznytskyi Lviv National Art Gallery, as well as in the National Museum in Krakow, the National Library in Warsaw, the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, and in private collections.
Object description
Odo Dobrowolski painted a portrait of the artist Seweryn Obst on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the famous artist, on December 27, 1907. This is a profile shoulder-length portrait of the artist; he is depicted with thoughtful eyes, a thin straight nose, wavy hair that is combed back, and a beard that has already been touched with gray. The man is depicted in a festive outfit, namely in a jacket, a tie, and a shirt with a white collar. On the left there is a hand with a brush in long thin fingers. This is the hand of the author of the portrait, the sensitive man of a profound intellect. Seweryn Obst (1847–1917) was a Galician artist and ethnographer of Polish descent. He was born in the village of Nyzhnii Bereziv (former Berezów Niżny) in Kosiv region. He received his primary education in the Hutsul region. He graduated from The Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Seweryn Obst painted Hutsuls and collected Hutsul folk goods. From 1883, he lived in Lviv. The artist died at the age of 69 in a rest home for elderly people.
In the upper left part of the work there is the author’s signature, dedication, and the date “Odo Dobrowolski / Sewera / w 60 rocznicę urodzenia./ 27/12 07” written in italics. On the back side there are several handwritten numbers and 2 labels. On the largest label the text “Muzeum Narodowe im. Króla Jana III we Lwowie / z daru Helena Dąbczańskiej. No inw. 202” is printed in ink. In the middle there is the inscription “Dobrowolski Odo: / Portrait of an Obsta, / art.-nal./ Pastel / 38 x 40.5” written in ink.
Portrayed person
The name of the person portrayed
Seweryn Obst
Lifetime of the person portrayed