Erbstein Boris Mikhailovich
1901, St Petersburg – 1963, Kuibyshev
Painter, theatrical designer, graphic artist. Studied drawing under Isaac Brodsky (from 1909); studied under Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin at Elizaveta Zvantseva’s School of Art (1914–1917), combined his studies at the private studio of Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, State Free Art Studios in Petrograd (1918–1921) with classes at Mastery of Stage Production Courses headed by Vsevolod Meyerhold (1918–1920); Aircraft Technology College (1920 – spring 1922); Painting Faculty, VKhUTEMAS (1922–1923, defended his qualification paper in 1923 and continued his studies in the Painting Faculty). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1923). Worked in the Petrushka Cabaret-Theatre (1918); headed the art section of the political administration of the fleet and the sailors art school of the political department of Petrograd Naval Base (1919).
Collaborated with Leningrad and Moscow theatres (1920s–1930s). Co-founder of the Young Ballet company formed by the School of Choreography graduates (1922). Set designer at the School of Choreography. Arrested for being involved in the Daniil Kharms case (article 58-10), exiled to Kursk, then to Borisoglebsk, Petrozavodsk, and Saratov where he continued to work for theatres. Released (1934). In September 1941 arrested on the charge of “anti-Soviet activity, propaganda and espionage for Germany” (article 58-6), condemned to 10 years imprisonment and exiled to Siberia. Released (December 1947).
First worked as a designer at the Krasnoyarsk Furniture Enterprise, then joined theatre companies touring provincial towns. Received treatment for mental illness in a psychiatric hospital near Leningrad (1949). Moved to Gorky (1952), Kuibyshev (1954) where he worked as a theatrical designer for the Opera and Ballet Theatre, collaborated with a drama theatre. Rehabilitated and reinstated in the Union of Artists. Nevertheless, he failed to return to an active, creative life. Committed suicide.