(Moscow 1946)


Silverpoint, with touches of watercolour.
318 x 259 mm. (12 1/2 x 10 in.)
Drawn in 2005.

Victor Koulbak has recalled that, ‘When I saw silverpoint for the first time, I was bowled over. I read that the masters used to prepare their gesso by burning chicken bones and mixing them with glue made of rabbit skins. This creates a rough surface to which the particles of silver adhere and act like microscopic mirrors reflecting the light. As the drawing progresses, the layer of silver thickens and begins to act like a mirror. It becomes increasingly difficult to gauge how far away from the drawing you’re standing. It ‘floats’ in the air, suffused with life and energy. Leonardo considered it the finest technique of all.’

As a review of a gallery exhibition of Koulbak’s drawings in New York in 2000 noted of the artist, ‘his silverpoint drawings – when seen for the first time – recall the work of Old Masters. But, on closer inspection, the muted colors, the dreamy look, all are meant to entice the viewer into the artist’s world. The works, many highlighted with watercolor, are rendered on a special type of paper prepared with ground marble dust, adding to the dreamy, otherworldly feeling...each one seems to have a tale waiting to be told. Victor Koulbak is a master.’

Victor Koulbak was born in Moscow and studied at art school there before beginning his career as a commercial draughtsman and illustrator. In 1975 he left Russia and settled first in Vienna and later in France, where he lived and worked between 1976 and 2000. He lives today in Malta. Koulbak established a reputation for working in the techniques of Renaissance masters, in particular the medium of silverpoint, which features prominently in his work from 1990 onwards. He had his first one-man exhibition in Sweden in 1976, and has since exhibited widely in France, England, Germany, Belgium, Japan and America. In 2015 an exhibition of Koulbak’s drawings and paintings was held at the June Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University in Alabama.


W. M. Brady & Co., New York Mark Murray, New York Private collection, Madrid.


New York, W. M. Brady & Co., Koulbak drawings, 2007

London, Stephen Ongpin Fine Art and Guy Peppiatt Fine Art, One Hundred Drawings and Watercolours, 2009-2010, no.99.