The Lost World of the Russian Empire

Every Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri until Feb 14, 2013 at 9:00am

Les Beaux Arts Gallery

Round Hill Community Church, 395 Round Hill Road, Greenwich, CT 06831


A collection of photographs by Sergei Mikhailovich Produkin-Gorskii (1863-1944), an ingenious photographer credited with implementing the first color photographs in Russia, will be featured in a special exhibit at Les Beaux Arts Gallery in Greenwich, opening Sunday, January 13 and running through Thursday, February 14, 2013.

Produkin-Gorskii's photographs offer a vivid portrait of a lost world of the Russian Empire at the eve of World War I and the coming revolution. With the support of Tsar Nicholas II, he went on a photographic survey of Russia between 1909 and 1912, and again in 1915, traveling in a specially equipped railroad car. He photographed fantastic landscapes, medieval churches, monasteries, old towns and diverse ethnic people. He left Russia in 1918 and settled in Paris, France for the rest of his life. Produkin-Gorskii’s extensive collection of glass plates [the original negative] was purchased by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1948 from his heirs.

Produkin-Gorskii created color photographs before color film existed. His unique technique consisted of shooting three photographs of the same subject, each time using a different color filter; red, green and blue. The photographs could then be shown in full color by simultaneously superimposing them on a screen with a “Magic Lantern,” a specially designed projector that used the same three color filters.

For this exhibition, the historic glass plates have been scanned and, through an innovative process known as digichromatography, were printed. Through digital technology, these superior color prints were made possible and for the first time in many decades, the public will be able to enjoy them.

Produkin-Gorskii was born in Murom, Russia and was educated as a chemist. He studied with renowned scientists in St. Petersburg, Berlin and Paris and devoted his life to the advancement of photography. His original research yielded patents for producing color film slides and for projecting color motion pictures.

The present collection has been made possible by the digital work of Arto O. Szabó, the Round Hill Community Church Archivist. Les Beaux Arts Gallery at the Round Hill Community Church, is located at 395 Round Hill Road, Greenwich, CT. The Gallery is open Monday thru Friday, 9am to 3pm; and Sunday, 11am to Noon. For more information, call 203/869-1091 or visit

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