Saveliy Abramovich (Zavel Izrailevich) Sorin (1878-1953) – one of the few masters of the “Russian abroad” who achieved emigration recognition, fame and financial prosperity. An exquisite portrait painter combining the accuracy of a drawing with the richness of color. In his portraits, he achieved exact, calligraphic similarities, while always finding a compositional solution that allowed him to present the model in the “most favorable light” – these qualities undoubtedly met the requirements of customers. The glory of one of the most successful Russian artists was brought to him by numerous spectacular female portraits in which the artist “found a way to express modernity.”
A native of a poor Jewish family who had never studied before the age of 16, in 1896 he entered the Odessa Art School; where his teacher was K. Kostandi. In 1899 he graduated from college with a medal, which gave the right to enter the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts without exams. Since 1899 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts with I.I. Tvorozhnikova, V.E. Savinsky and I.E. Repin. Very early S. Sorin was defined as a portrait painter. The work of the student of the Academy brings him fame and the willingness of many to pose for a young artist. He writes interesting portraits of F.I. Chaliapin, M. Gorky, A.A. Akhmatova, artist T.P. Karsavina, Princess Volkonskaya and others.
He successfully graduated from the Academy in 1908. For 2 years, the artist advanced his skills in Holland, Italy. France. In 1911, the artist’s works were exhibited at the World Exhibition in Rome. In 1913, 1915 and 1917 he took part in the exhibitions of the World of Art in St. Petersburg (Petrograd), in 1917 – in the exhibition of the New Society of Artists in Petrograd.
After the revolution of 1917, the artist lived in Yalta for some time, in 1918 he was an exhibitor of the exhibition “Art in Crimea”. In 1919 he moved to Tiflis, where he met with S.Yu. Sudeikin, V.V. Kamensky, N.N. Evreinovym. He took part in the exhibition “Small Circle”.
In May 1920, S. Sorin emigrated on a boat to Marseille, settled in Paris. His first appearances in the early 1920s at exhibitions in Paris and London were brilliant. Inspired, impeccable craftsmanship portraits of a hitherto unknown artist attracted general attention. A laudatory press followed. An extensive article in the London magazine “Studio” brought the artist a royal order (he painted a large group portrait of the royal family). In art circles it was said that “Lords and ladies stood in line at his easel.”
In the years 1922-1923. S. Sorin exhibited his work in the Autumn Salon, in 1926-1930. – in the Tuileries salon. He continued to participate in exhibitions of Russian art, including in 1921 at the Densi Gallery, and in 1927, at the last exhibition of the World of Art at the Bernheim Gallery. In the 1920-1930s. held a number of solo exhibitions in galleries in Paris and London.
The artist lived for a long time in New York, where he acquired the patronage of the millionaire Cohn, who introduced the highest circles of American society to his work. Solo exhibitions of S. Sorin were held at the Brooklyn Museum, the Wildenstein Gallery in New York, Washington, Pittsburgh, Chicago. In 1924, he helped organize a traveling exhibition of Russian art in the United States and Canada. In 1932 he took part in the exhibition of contemporary Russian art in Philadelphia. In America, he gained great fame as a fashionable portrait painter.
The works of Sorin Savely Abramovich are in the collections of the largest museums in the world, including the Luxembourg Museum in Paris, the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the State Tretyakov Gallery and others, in private collections.