1910 - 1991
Alexander Yaron was born in Imperial Russia. His mother was a well-known portrait painter who died when he was only 10 years old. She left him her talent, a box of oil paints, and the ambition to become an as accomplished as she was. His father, Alexander I. Yaron, was an architect and civil engineer. A colonel in the Imperial Russian Army, he fought during the Russian Revolution. After the collapse of the White Russian Movement he and his family sought refuge in Shanghai, China. There Alexander Yaron senior became known for designing and building government buildings, the famous Majestic Hotel, and other landmarks. He also designed and built the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, erected in memory of Czar Nicholas II and his family. Eventually Alexander Yaron the younger painter the four main icons in that church.
It was in Shanghai, China, that the 14-year old Alexander studied art with professors of the St. Petersburg Academy of Art and the Moscow School of Painting and Sculpture, themselves exiles in China.
After years of personal and financial success, the Second World War and the Japanese occupation of Shanghai made life very difficult. In 1945, at the end of World War II, Shanghai was reborn and slowly life returned to normalcy. Not for long, however, because in early 1949 the Chinese communists were approaching Shanghai. Just three months before the communists entered the city, Alexander, his wife Helena Emelianoff and their two small children, Camilla and Alexander Jr., were evacuated to the deserted island of Tubabao in the Philippines. From there began an odyssey that took the young family from continent to continent, from one country to another, until finally they reached the USA and decided to call it home. They lived in Washington, D.C. for many years, where Alexander Yaron died in 1991.
As a classical realist, Alexander Yaron emphasized mastery of form and draftsmanship, integrating elements of romanticism. Combining elegance with real perception of personal character, he carried on the traditions and portrait genre of the constellation of celebrated Russian artists of the Nineteenth Century. As a prolific artist, he recorded the whole gamut of human experience and portrayed both the exalted and the most humble. Among his well know portraits are the one of the renowned Russian Basso of the Metropolitan Opera, Feodor Chailiapin; Latin American presidential portraits; international personalities such as Dag Hammarskjold, V.K. Krishna Menon, Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mrs. Francis A. Sinatra, Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich, soprano Mme. Galina Vishnevskaya, his wife, and a host of others.
Going back to the pre-Revolutionary years in China is an unusual collection of genre paintings and character studies of Old China, created in oil and in the Manière a Trois Crayon. There are also his bold, action-filled scenes, the essence of the American West: the cowboy and his horse. No less impressive is the collection of studies of Native Americans. Poignant and dramatic is the series of "Migrant Workers." The seascapes are alive with motion and rhythm; the nature studies quiet and introspective; the horses majestic. And with his mastery of the human figure, the figure studies are beautiful in their simplicity.
Alexander Yaron painted professionally worldwide for 64 years. The versatility of his creative nature was extraordinary, and he left an art collection amazing in its breadth and scope.