About the Artist Nadia Werbitzky (1922-2005)

Nadia Werbitzky was born in Rostov-on-Don in Russia in 1922. Her father, Dimitri Verbitsky, died in the Gulag. He was a victim of Stalinist purges in the late 1930s. Her mother, Teodora Verbitskaya, and sister Lyucia lived in the city of Mariupol in Soviet Ukraine on the shore of the Azov Sea. They experienced deprivation, starvation, and oppression under the Soviet regime.

In 1941, during World War II, Mariupol was occupied by the Germans and the family was deported to Germany where they were confined to several labor camps. At the end of the war, the family was liberated by the American Army. Nadia began to study at the Meisterschulle of Cologne at the Art Academy of Dusseldorf. After graduation she moved to Toronto. It was here that Nadia met her future husband who was an American diplomat.

About the Paintings

The couple traveled extensively throughout Europe, which allowed Nadia to study the works of the Great Masters. During this period she refined her technique and began to exhibit her works in 1961. Her exhibitions were hosted in the United States and in Germany, as well as Iran; her painting, Eternal Motherhood, won first prize at Frankfurt’s International Art Exhibition in 1973.

Mimi Shaw acquired Werbitzky’s paintings and drawings due in part to a personal interest in Slavic culture and painting. Werbitzky’s works are also owned by Kelly Bowen. Collectors Shaw and Bowen have generously collaborated to loan works to exhibitions of the artist and to organize and preserve both the artworks and the memoir of Nadia’s mother Teodora Verbitskaya.