Ostrowsky was born at Malin, near Kiev, Russia on May 5, 1885 or 1886. Vladimir Donatovitch Orolovski (1842-1914), a Russian landscapist, was the first to promote a shy country boy named Samuel Ostrowsky, by introducing him to Kiev's academy. All went smoothly until a fire destroyed the humble home of his parents — the young painter left for Chicago to live with an uncle, who ousted him for not accepting an industrial job (George, n. d., p. 10). After some preliminary training at the Art Institute of Chicago and a period of designing sets in New York, Ostrowsky crossed the Atlantic again to be trained in the Académie Julian and spent three years in France. He exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1914.
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