IVAN I. GARIKOW (GARIKOV)
On June 12, 1918, located in the county of Krasnodar in the village of Belaya Glina in the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union, Ivan Ivanovitch Garikow was born. He was the fourth child of six (five brothers and one sister) born to Anna (nee-Tschaiczkina) and Ivan Garikow.
World War I had ended, but a civil war continued to rage throughout Russia. During the purges and reprisals that characterized Joseph Stalin’s rise to power, Garikow attended elementary school and his family lived a relatively peaceful, if impoverished life, on a horse ranch.
Ivan’s artistic ability was recognized early; as a child he was sent to painter’s school. At age eighteen, he submitted his art work for consideration and was accepted to the Repin Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Leningrad.
In 1937, Ivan made the thousand mile pilgrimage to Leningrad from Belaya Glina to study art. He attended Repin Academy for the next four years (1937-41). Upon completion of Ivan’s classical training in the late spring of 1941, Ivan took a job as an interior decorator in the resort city of Petrasowodsk which was located a few miles northeast of Leningrad.
Garikow was near Leningrad on June 22, 1941 when Adolf Hilter’s armies invaded Russia. Along with hundreds of other Slavic people, Ivan Garikow was taken as a prisoner of war by the Nazi regime. From his cell, Ivan requested a piece of charcoal. Upon receiving the charcoal, Ivan proceeded to draw a large portrait of Christ on his cell wall. The officers were so impressed with Ivan’s drawing that he was sent to a compulsory labor factory in Krems, Austria instead of being shipped off to one of the other concentration camps where extermination was waiting. He spent the next four years of his life there as a prisoner of slave labor. Without warning, he was suddenly sent to Mauthausen.
Luckily for Ivan, on May 5, 1945, the camp at Mauthausen was liberated by soldiers of the 41st U.S. Cavalry’s Recon Squad of the US 11th Armored Division. Ivan survived and soon fled to Salzburg in Austria which was then in the American sector of the Allied occupied zones. There he hoped to find freedom.
Ivan survived the post-war years by painting people’s portraits, their homes and their property. Ivan’s big break occurred the week of August 14-19, 1948. His oil painting, Salzburg, was exhibited in the very first art exhibit (Grosse Austellung) following World Word II. The directors of the exhibit admired his work so much that they featured it prominently in the vestibule. As his art work gained a following, photographic reproductions of his paintings were made into postcards and sold to tourists “an accolade only given to the city’s best-loved artists”. City by the River painted in 1949 became the most famous postcard of the era. Sometimes known as Salzburg by the River or Riverbank, Ivan painted several of the exact same scene each with subtle differences usually found at the water’s edge.
On April 6, 1949, just two and a half months before his 31st birthday, an old world, arranged marriage took place. Ivan married Lili Schneider who was just sixteen years of age. On February 17, 1950, Ivan’s only child, Arnold, was born. Even with their new born son, the incompatibility of their ages and other irreconcilable differences forced their divorce on December 1, 1950.
On June 6, 1951, Ivan applied for a United States Visa. Ivan’s passage to the United States was arranged by the International Refugee Organization in accordance with the Immigration Act of 1924 and the Displaced Persons Act of June 25, 1948.
With all of the necessary paperwork in order, Ivan awaited official word from the American authorities. In August of 1951, confirmation arrived, and he prepared to depart for his new country. On August 21, 1951, Ivan Garikow sailed to the United States from the German port of Bremerhaven aboard the USNS General Harry Taylor. He arrived in New York City on September 10, 1951 and disembarked on American soil at Ellis Island as passenger #126.
Now in America, the 33 year old Garikow’s time in New York lasted only a few days. On Tuesday, September 18, 1951, he left New York City at 3:30 PM on train #177 named The Senator. Ivan arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the 30th Street Station approximately 5:03 PM the same day.
Soon, Ivan was offered a job with Newman Art Galleries located on Walnut Street in Philadelphia. Also working at Newman Galleries was Russian artist Vladimir M. Shatalow (1917-2002) who became Ivan’s best friend. Although Ivan spoke no English, Garikow’s enjoyment of being in America could not be denied.
It didn’t take long for Ivan’s talent to be noticed in the United States. On July 7, 1952, less than one year after entry to the United States, Ivan’s photograph appeared on Page B-3 of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. For weeks ignoring his own safety, Ivan stood on a traffic island at the intersection of South Broad and Pine Streets while he painted a view of Philadelphia’s city hall.
In 1954, Ivan joined the Art Talents Association of Philadelphia. His painting, Letter, was accepted for exhibition in New York City at the Barbizon-Plaza Art Gallery, located at 106 Central Park South. It showed from May 8 through May 20 of 1954. With his success on the rise and much encouragement, Ivan saved his money and continued to paint. Then on April 23,1955 he opened his own studio/gallery in Philadelphia at 530 West Girard Avenue. Two weeks later on May 5, 1955 an article in the Philadelphia Midtown Crier reported that several more of his paintings were accepted for exhibition at Barbizon-Plaza in New York.
Ivan moved his studio/gallery to 989 North 6th Street where he continued to flourish. He was living his American dream and was certain that great success awaited him. Unfortunately, Ivan exercised poor judgment in choosing the location of his new art studio. On February 16, 1962, while walking along the Philadelphia streets, Ivan was beaten and robbed. The neighborhood was not a safe area.
By April 5, 1962, he had saved enough money to place a down payment of five hundred dollars on his own house at 1238 North 5th Street. Although this was a joyous occasion for him, it proved to be another bad mistake for Ivan. The neighborhood was in a state of deterioration and decay. Family members tried to convince him to sell his property in Philadelphia and move; however, he remained adamant that divine guidance would intervene, and the discovery of his true talent was soon to be realized.
Ivan’s misfortunes continued to occur. On September 25, 1971 another mugging took place. In 1972, his home and gallery was broken into, and three of his oil paintings were stolen. Another burglary occurred in 1974 with six more paintings stolen. Ivan finally confided to his son, Arnold, “There have been many break-ins at my home over the past years. Whoever broke in this last time knew exactly what he was doing. He stole some of my best paintings!” By this time the only building that remained standing was Ivan’s home. The city had demolished the entire city block where he lived.
In March and April of 1978, the break-ins continued and his home suffered continual vandalism. Although he continued painting, he became reclusive, paranoid and despondent. In the early 1980’s, paranoia had taken its toll on Garikow. He lived a secluded and solitary life.
Ivan refused help and was ignoring his health. On April 26, 1982, Vladimir Shatalow found Ivan Garikow in his bed; he had died in his sleep. The death certificate cited dehydration and malnutrition as the cause of death; however, his son believes his father died of a broken heart. If it is true that great artists live a troubled life, Ivan Garikow was one of the greatest.
Learn more about Ivan’s personal life, his paintings, and his heritage at: www.garikow.com.
(Researched and written by Steven M. Nesbit 2008-09)
Posthumous Achievements and Recognition:
Garikow's painting, Joy of Liberty, 7'X 18' considered for use by Honorable Bob Graham, Senator Paula Hawkins, and U.S. Interior for refurbishment of Ellis Island, NYC
Peter the Great on Mounted Steed, 5'X 8' considered for the movie, Peter the Great, starring Omar Sharif and Vanessa Redgrave
Lucia Mercer-Graham, builder of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. rated Garikow's work as "Top Shelf"
August 14-19, 1948 - Grosse Austellung, Austria
May 8 - 20, 1954 - Barbizon-Plaza Art Gallery, New York City
May, 1955 - Barbizon-Plaza Art Gallery, New York City
1954 - Art Talents Association of Philadelphia