Russia, 1893 – 1979
Eugène Gabritschevsky was born in Moscow, Russia. The son of a renowned bacteriologist, he studied biology and specialised in genetics. He was later invited to continue his research at Columbia University, New York, before working at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1926. But he was subject to mental disorders and was admitted, in 1931, to a psychiatric hospital where he remained until his death. For more than 40 years Eugène Gabritschevsky devoted himself to artistic creation, producing some 5,000 paintings and drawings. He worked on sheets of paper that he retrieved from the rubbish, as well as on calendar pages and administrative memos. He employed a number of random techniques. For example, he would apply watercolour or gouache with a brush or his fingers, then dab it with a rag or sponge, making suggestive shapes appear. He would then develop these emergent forms with a few brushstrokes, giving birth to monstrous anthropomorphic figures and strange animals.