Eugène Gabritschevsky was born in 1895 to a high aristocratic family in Moscow and enjoyed a significant career as a biologist before sinking into madness. His father, a bacteriologist, introduced him to science and Eugène became quickly known as a specialist in questions of heredity, working in the United States, then in Paris at the Institut Pasteur. Alongside his scientific work, the young man painted, in his spare time, expressionist-inspired works of art. At the onset of the Russian revolution, Eugène first showed signs of a larger behavioral disorder which would result in his commitment to the psychiatric hospital in Haar (near Munich), where he would remain until his death in 1979.
What began as a hobby suddenly became a frantic activity: over the course of three decades he painted and drew on any surface available including calendars, magazines, administrative bulletins, etc. using charcoal, pencil, watercolor, and gouache. His multi-dimensional universe began to spread: many of his works are otherworldly, filled with ghostly characters, strangely disturbing, where there is a fascinating atmosphere, several others prove to be non-figures, tachistes. Eugène particularly liked to leave room for chance in all of his creative practice and enjoyed conjuring forms by passing a sponge or a rag over previously painted areas or by using a system of folds.
Gabritschevsky’s work, which captivated Daniel Cordier and Jean Dubuffet, among others, is represented in many important collections across the world, and thanks to a gift by Cordier, is in the permanent collection of the Paris Museum of Modern Art.