Elena Luksch-Makowska (1878-1967), a Russian-German sculptor and illustrator, was the daughter of the famous artist Konstantin Makovsky. Elena's elder brother was the Silver Age poet Sergey Makovsky. Elena studied fine arts at the Art School of the Imperial Society for the Encouragement of Arts and the Imperial Academy of Arts. Her teacher was the famous Russian artist Ilya Repin. Elena Luksch-Makowska studied with Anton Azbe in Munich, in the workshop where she met with well-known Russian artists Ivan Bilibin and Mstislav Dobuzhinsky. In 1898, Elena studied at the art school opened by Mathias Gasteiger in the palace Dietenhofen near Dachau. In Dietenhofen, Elena Makovska met her future husband, the Viennese sculptor Richard Luksch. After the wedding with Luksch, she chose the double-surname Luksch-Makowska. Soon the artist couple moved to Vienna, where Elena participated in several exhibitions of the Vienna Secession. Gustav Klimt supported her in becoming the first woman in this movement.
In the spring of 1906, the artist came to Russia for a month. She visited St. Petersburg, listened to stories about the revolution, and met with publishers and collectors. Back in Germany, Elena began to work on the project "Lubki." In 1908, she took part in the traditional Viennese exhibition, showing her work as a member of the Wiener Werkstatte, presenting some illustrations of her "Russian Proverbs.
Wiener Werkstatte published various postcard series, and in 1911 included "Russian Proverbs," now rightly considered an outstanding master of artistic postcards. It is worth noting that Elena Luksch-Makowska was the only Russian artist included in the Wiener Werkstatte postcard series. The "Russian Proverbs," a combination of old Russian sayings and the artist's drawings, immediately attracted collectors' attention. The "Russian Proverbs" series consists of 12 lithographed postcards (Wiener Werkstatte №384-395). Each card holds a timeless Russian saying in strong, bold block letters echoing their enduring popularity over generations. You will note that the publisher included two still lifes as part of this set, a complete departure from the proverbs. A breath of fresh air, possibly?
Above each proverb is a simple but solid and vividly colored depiction. Each of the ten renditions is unmistakably part of the set. The face of each card is divided vertically into three equal portions: on top is the pictorial representation, with the proverb occupying the middle, and the bottom third of the card part of the frame - itself massive enough to support the work above.
- The illustrated catalogue of Wiener Werkstätte postcards. Krepostnov Publ. House, 2012.
- The MET collection.