Igor Golomstock (1929-2017)

The Russian-born art historian Igor Golomstock, one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met, passed away on July 12, 2017, in London. Robert Chandler’s obituary of his late friend appeared in The Guardian today. In it, Robert mentions that Igor’s “last publication, in Russian, was Memoirs of an Old Pessimist (2011). The complete memoir is due to be published in English next year.” Two chapters of this important book, about Igor’s childhood in Kolyma, appeared in Cardinal Points.

In an earlier version of the obituary, Robert had included what I think is a significant and moving passage: “Igor was an Anglophile. He spoke of two moments in his life when he felt overwhelmed, unable to believe he was really in England and not just dreaming. One was in the Senior Common Room at New College, Oxford; the other was in an ordinary London pub. Nevertheless, his inner world, like that of many Russian émigrés, remained deeply Russian, and most of his friends were either Russians or English Russianists.”

I am now in London myself, for an event at the British Library, and feel a measure of Igor’s joy at being here.


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