Millie Wilcox by C. ChatovMildred Huie Wilcox by Constantin Chatov
Left Bank Art Gallery, the St. Simons Island fine art gallery, owned by Mildred Huie Wilcox, does in fact have strong connections to France and many artists there. What many may not know, however, is that it was a pair of Russian brothers who were instrumental in making the gallery started by late artist Mildred Huie in 1962 a success.
Constantin and Roman Chatov were born in Russia, but fled to the United States in the 1920’s and became U.S. citizens shortly thereafter. Constantin, whose first passion was music, turned to art in his twenties and studied at the New York at the Art Students League. Roman studied art in Russia and Paris, and continued to perfect his skill at Manhattan’s National School of Design and the Art Students League. Before becoming instructors in Atlanta, Roman did work as a stage and costume designer and Constantin painted portraits of screen stars like Veronica Lake and Clark Gable. The accomplished portraitists and influential artists were long-time family friends of Mildred Huie, and later, her daughter. At the invitation of Left Bank Gallery, they made annual visits to St. Simons Island to paint commissioned portraits and enjoy the beauty of an island getaway. Now, Roman’s son, Marc, who lives in Atlanta, continues in the Chatov tradition of portraiture and is also represented by Left Bank.
Following the evolution of art inspired by the classic masters and portrait work to impressionism and abstract realism, Left Bank also represents another Russian who studied at the National School of Design and has garnered international recognition: Sonia Grineva. Demonstrating a completely different style than the Chatovs, Moscow-born Grineva is a plein air artist who travels extensively and in inspired by location.
By embracing artists from around the world, Left Bank Gallery has exposed us to talent that has come from and been influenced by the art and culture of Russia. A gift that is truly from Russia . . .with love.