Nicolai Remisoff

American, 1887 - 1975


Nicolai Remisoff was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1887. His parents were actors in the Russian Imperial Theatre. In 1910, Remisoff began studying at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts. His studies were interrupted by a stint in the Russian army 1917, but he ultimately graduated in 1918. Remisoff had been a co-founder of satirical political magazine called “Satiricon”, where he published hundreds of political cartoons and caricatures. The Bolshevik’s did not find Remisoff’s work amusing and attempted to bring him to trial. Remisoff and his family fled Russia, where they ultimately arrived in Paris in 1921. In Paris, he became the artist director of the famed theatre company “Chauve-Souris (the Bat)”, which traveled the world and brought Remisoff to the United States. In New York, Remisoff began designing covers and doing illustrations for such Conde Nast publications as “Vanity Fair” and “Vogue”. In 1922, he had a one-man show at the Wildenstein Gallery.

He then met beauty maven Elizabeth Arden who asked him to design her famed “Red Door” salon and spa. In 1924, Remisoff opened a Russian-themed night club in New York called “Club Petrushka”. “Club Petrushka” became the place to ‘be seen’ and was frequented by such notables as George and Ira Gershwin, Harpo Marx and Rudolph Valentino, among others. In 1925, the club caught fire and the manager of the club perished in the incident. After the demise of Club Petrushka, Remisoff headed to Chicago, where he taught stage design at the Art Institute from 1925-1926. During his Chicago tenure, he designed sets and costumes for the “Adolph Bolm” and “Ruth Page” ballet companies in Chicago, created murals for the Casino Club, the Chicago Club, the Graceland Cemetery Chapel and the Lake Forest Public Library, among others. He was even commissioned to decorate State Street for the Thanksgiving parade in 1931. He had one-man shows at The Arts Club of Chicago in 1925 and the Art Institute of Chicago in 1938. He also exhibited at the Century of Progress Exhibition in 1933.

Remisoff left Chicago for Hollywood, CA in 1938 and became involved with the art direction of Hollywood movies. Throughout his career, he was the art or production designer for 31 movies, including “Of Mice and Men”, “Topper Returns”, “The Red Pony” and the first “Ocean’s Eleven” and also four television series, including “Gunsmoke”. Remisoff’s design style was so unique that it became known as “Russian Vogue”. Remisoff died in Palm Springs, CA in 1975 at he age of 91.

  • 5302 reminsoff 5302

    Scrapbook Scrim, ca. 1938
    Watercolor, ink and graphite on board
    12 1/4 x 17 3/8 inches

    Signed and titled “Scrapbook Scrim” on reverse

    #5302
    SOLD

Nicolai Remisoff was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1887. His parents were actors in the Russian Imperial Theatre. In 1910, Remisoff began studying at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts. His studies were interrupted by a stint in the Russian army 1917, but he ultimately graduated in 1918. Remisoff had been a co-founder of satirical political magazine called “Satiricon”, where he published hundreds of political cartoons and caricatures. The Bolshevik’s did not find Remisoff’s work amusing and attempted to bring him to trial. Remisoff and his family fled Russia, where they ultimately arrived in Paris in 1921. In Paris, he became the artist director of the famed theatre company “Chauve-Souris (the Bat)”, which traveled the world and brought Remisoff to the United States. In New York, Remisoff began designing covers and doing illustrations for such Conde Nast publications as “Vanity Fair” and “Vogue”. In 1922, he had a one-man show at the Wildenstein Gallery.

He then met beauty maven Elizabeth Arden who asked him to design her famed “Red Door” salon and spa. In 1924, Remisoff opened a Russian-themed night club in New York called “Club Petrushka”. “Club Petrushka” became the place to ‘be seen’ and was frequented by such notables as George and Ira Gershwin, Harpo Marx and Rudolph Valentino, among others. In 1925, the club caught fire and the manager of the club perished in the incident. After the demise of Club Petrushka, Remisoff headed to Chicago, where he taught stage design at the Art Institute from 1925-1926. During his Chicago tenure, he designed sets and costumes for the “Adolph Bolm” and “Ruth Page” ballet companies in Chicago, created murals for the Casino Club, the Chicago Club, the Graceland Cemetery Chapel and the Lake Forest Public Library, among others. He was even commissioned to decorate State Street for the Thanksgiving parade in 1931. He had one-man shows at The Arts Club of Chicago in 1925 and the Art Institute of Chicago in 1938. He also exhibited at the Century of Progress Exhibition in 1933.

Remisoff left Chicago for Hollywood, CA in 1938 and became involved with the art direction of Hollywood movies. Throughout his career, he was the art or production designer for 31 movies, including “Of Mice and Men”, “Topper Returns”, “The Red Pony” and the first “Ocean’s Eleven” and also four television series, including “Gunsmoke”. Remisoff’s design style was so unique that it became known as “Russian Vogue”. Remisoff died in Palm Springs, CA in 1975 at he age of 91.

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