WILLIBALD WOLF RUDINOFF (German-Russian / 1866-?)

The wonderfully-named Willibald Wolf Rudinoff (sometimes listed as Willi, Willy, or Wilhelm Rudinoff and also under the surname Morgenstern, or Morgenstern-Rudinoff) was born in Angermünde, Germany on 4 August 1866. Rudinoff came from a Russian Jewish family; his father was a cantor, who was fleeing persecution when Rudinoff was born. Willibald Wolf Rudinoff also worked as Willy Morgenstern. Apparently his passport was in the name Morgenstern, and this seems to have been his real name. He assumed the name Rudinoff as a stage name, travelling across Europe as a circus clown. In this capacity Rudinoff is recorded as a fire-eater, creator of shadow silhouettes, and also as a singer with a fine tenor voice, which he also used to imitate the cries of animals. In 1891 Rudinoff became close friends with the dramatist Frank Wedekind, who was attracted by Rudinoff's mastery of pantomime. Sometime around 1900 Rudinoff made the switch from circus artist to fine artist. Rudinoff is known to have studied art for some months at the Munich Academy, and also at the Académie Julian in Paris. Rudinoff was active as an artist across Western and Northern Europe. Willibald Wolf Rudinoff is remembered primarily as an etcher, but was also a master watercolorist. Rudinoff produced scenes of music halls and circuses, landscapes, coastal scenes, and figure studies in an artistic career that deserves more attention than it has received. The last dated piece of his art that we have found is from 1929.

See also:


An der Elbe, 1901
Dot Hardy
(Porträtstudie), 1902

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