University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

The Nicolai E. Dronnikov Collection

MSE/REE 0005

Nicolai Egorovich Dronnikov (b. 1930, near Tula, Russia; Russian: Николай Егорович Дронников) is a Russian-French painter, publisher, and collector. Dronnikov studied at the Surikov Art Academy in Moscow before immigrating to France in 1972. He gained fame as "the chronicler of the Russian emigration" for his artistic portrayal of Russian cultural life in Paris over a period of forty years. Dronnikov is a long-standing member of the Society for the Preservation of Russian Heritage (Paris) and of the Association of Friends of [the artists] Natalya Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov (Paris).

The collection comprises 80 portraits of Russian literary and cultural figures who lived or visited France between 1972 and 2010, including: Joseph Brodsky, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, Gennady Aigi, Eduard Limonov, Andrei Siniavskii, Vladimir Tolstyi, Serge Lifar, Mstislav Rastropovich, and many other notables. Dronnikov did his portraits from life in ink or pencil during performances and literary readings. Some portraits are accompanied by the artist's commentaries. The collection also includes over fifty rare handmade books published by Dronnikov in small editions (often less than 50 copies) on a pre-revolutionary printing press at his home in Ivry-sur-Seine, near Paris.