Thanks to Glasnost in June of 1991 in a visit to Russia we finally felt free to contact our Russian relatives. My father and his family had left in 1920 leaving behind on his mother’s side many aunts and uncles. All those years communication was limited and unwise, particularly as Stalin took control of the country.
Sonia (Sofia Dymshitz-Tolstaya) was my grandmother’s sister and, when I met her granddaughter, I asked her what she knew about her grandmother’s life. In response she amazed me by giving me Sonia’s Memoirs, lists that Sonia had compiled of her paintings and many photographs of her art. I was deeply moved. I felt I had to tell Sonia’s story.
At first I was advised that there was not much left
of her paintings, and her significance as a member of the Russian Avant-Garde
was minimal. But, thanks to the help of relatives and scholars in both
St. Petersburg and Moscow, I was able to find over seventy-five images
of her art and many documents and photographs that portrayed a rich
involvement with her times.