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Designer, artist and teacher, born in Moscow, Russia, who turned from forestry to art, which he studied in St Petersburg, Munich and Paris. Picasso painted sets for him when he worked for Sergei Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet, and he was also employed by the Beecham Opera Company. After his arrival in London, just before World War I, he taught stage design at the Slade School of Fine Art, and exhibited a little in the 1930s at the Beaux Arts and Redfern Galleries. Polunin’s wife was the artist Elizabeth Polunin. Their sons were all distinguished scientists: the botanist and environmentalist Nicholas, the botanist and plant geographer Oleg and the medical anthropologist Ivan.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)

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