At the corner of Marazlievskaya Street and Nakhimova Lane a real masterpiece of early, as period concerns, and mature in Art Nouveau content rises. It was created by one of the best Art Nouveau architects of Odessa — Moisei Isakovich Linetskiy in co-authorship with Samuel Savelyevich Galperson. The apartment house of Lutskiy was not the only result of their cooperation, but became the peak.
Type of building: apartment house
Style: ornamental Art Nouveau
Architects: М. I. Linetskiy, S. S. Galperson
Date of construction: 1902-1903
Status: local architectural and historical monument
At the beginning of XX century a site on Marazlievskaya Street was not cheap, therefore the street was built up only by the wealthiest people. The vicinity of each of the newly constructed buildings on Marazlievskaya Street with exquisite neighboring mansions and apartment houses dictated somehow the scope and aesthetic level of a new building.
In 1902-1903 on the site number 2 a real masterpiece of ornamental Art Nouveau, fashionable and expensive in design style in those days, raised. In the year of its construction beginning a new style just took first steps. The early Art Nouveau houses are dated to the same period. It is interesting that the house of Wolf on the corner of Kuznechnaya Street and Uspenskaya Street, built by architects V. Dombrovskisy and Y. M. Ponomarenko, is very similar to the house of Lutskoy in silhouette lines, proportions, shapes and style of decoration, as if the two houses were built by the same architect. There is no doubt that there was a certain exchange of experience between the architects.
Historical photographs of the house
Photograph from the guide of the beginning of the XX century
The author of the project M. I. Linetskiy got a site for development at the corner of Marazlievskaya Street and Nakhimova Lane. According to the reference book «All Odessa» of 1903, the house was built on the site of A. Falz-Fein and P. Mavrokordato. In the register of cultural heritage buildings the house on 2, Marazlievskaya Street was listed as an apartment house of M. D. Lutskiy. Subsequently the building changed owners at least twice. In 1908, the house was purchased by a certain O. von Besser, and, according to the reference book «All Commerce and Industry of Odessa» of 1914, the house was assigned to G. E. Fukelman. Lutskiy was mentioned in the reference book «All Odessa» of 1903 in the section «Architecture», but there were gathered people of different professions related to the design and construction, so to establish details using the reference book is not possible.
According to Tatyana Zayarnaya, the author of «Along the Marazlievskaya ...», «... it was occupied by the» department of Noble and Peasants Bank in the house of Marazli located in Baryatinsky Lane with a facade facing Marazlievskaya Street. Peasant Land Bank later moved to the purpose-built on 34a, Marazlievskaya Street, but Noble Bank had been working in this house until the Revolution«.
Despite the fact that the concerned house was implemented in a „pure“ Art Nouveau, traces of the eclectic architecture are still present, although to a small extent. Those include forms of window openings, stair railings, casings of the ground floor windows, vases (borrowed from the Baroque era, once crowned the attic of the house, and now — lost), carved window frames and courtyard facades finishing. However, the above listed details simply drown in the spectacular Art Nouveau decoration of house facades.
Besides vases, the house has lost some really important details over time. A corner part of the building once was crowned with a massive attic- pedestal, served as the basis for a sculpture of a lying lion. Flanking corner part pylons were exquisitely and richly decorated, ending with large sculptures of eagles. Mascarones of the top floor from Marazlievskaya Street were lost completely, but were preserved from Nakhimov Lane side. Most of the balconies lost stone fences posts, however, forged elements were preserved for the most part. At the corner, on the ground floor there was a trading space and the house had a proper decision of the facade in that place, but now it is closed by an annex or destroyed.
Lutskiy’s house has a rectangular in plan, elongated along the Nakhimov Lane shape, with a large courtyard and a cut corner at the intersection of the streets. Unlike the house on 54, Kuznechnaya Street the wings converge here at a classic right angle. In general both facades at the building lines of the streets are decorated identically, but there are differences. An entrance to the apartments in the wing on Marazlievskaya Street is directly from the street and properly decorated. The corners of the portal have a slight slope towards the central axis, and over the magnificent original door there is a spectacular cartouche with a monogram. The cartouche is skillfully drawn in details by Art Nouveau plastic lines and added on the top by symmetrical wings. The vertical axis of the portal is accentuated by an open bay window-balcony, flanking by common balconies on the second and third floors.
Entrance to the entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street
Bay window over the portal
The walls of the ground floor are processed by belt rustic stone consisting of two broad profiles.
Ground floor finishing
On the first floor the rustic stone is more classic and austere; window openings have rounded top corners and keystones with moulded ornaments of floral motifs.
First floor finishing
The second-floor windows are topped by large fasciae, the part of which is supplemented with mascarons.A vertical windows rhythm is emphasized by the pilasters of smooth curved shapes with the ornament of Obrist in the piers. The windows of the top, the third floor, are the most richly ornamented. Over each of them there are mascarones, performed partly in the „Egyptian“ stylistics and depicting faces of various types and ages. As mentioned above, any of them were preserved from Marazlievskaya Street side.
Upper storeys finishing
Decorative details of the second floor
Decorative details of the second floor
Mascarons of the third floor
Facade in Nakhimov Lane is more extensive than the facade on Marazlievskaya Street (14 to 9 window axes respectively). Symmetrically in the center (if ignore the extreme axis of the window adjacent to the corner of the building) there is a passage arch into the courtyard, and its axis is singled out by a risalit, gradually tapering upwards. The similar risalit is located from Marazlievskaya Street side (plays exclusively a composite role). Both risalits are decorated with plant crowning elements in niches over the windows of the third floor.
It is worth mentioning one more interesting detail of the facade decoration on the third floor — ornamental belt, stretched out on piers over the entire facade, except for the corner part of it.
Ornament on the piers
The corner part of the facade is the most significant, the dominant element of the house that is emphasized by the pylons on each side and a huge mascaron in its central part above the windows of the third floor. The mascaron is interesting not only for its dimensions (probably it is the largest in the city) but for decoration. Twisted in fanciful design a rope around his neck has made Odessa local historians and art critics to puzzle over the meaning of its presence here for decades. An interesting fact is that the house of Lutskiy is not the only on Marazlievskaya Street where there is a mascaron with a rope around his neck on the facade. A similar sculpture image can be seen on the facades of apartment buildings of N. Kryzhanowskiy-Auderskiy on 54, Marazlievskaya Street (1900, architect. L. L. Vlodek) and N. Belikovich on 5, Marazlievskaya Street (1902, architect D. E. Mazirov). And on the facade of the latter there are two ones. No less interesting is another fact: in other streets of Odessa similar mascarones do not occur.
Corner part of the house
The passage arch to the courtyard is designed very simply and has flat vaults.
Passage arch to the courtyard
A forged gate of eclectic pattern, adorned by images of leaves and snakes was preserved.
In the arch there are opposite to each other entrances to the entrance hall of a wing in Nakhimov Lane and a habitable room of the ground floor. One of its rooms some time was illuminated by a small round window overlooking the arch, now boarded up and not exploited.
Door of the habitable room in the arch
Courtyard facades are made with the use of decorative shapes of the brick style and balconies fences are of an eclectic pattern that copies that of balconies fences in the courtyard of the next house of Ozmidov (number 4). The similarities do not end there.
Finishing of the windows piers
The angles of the wing on Marazlievskaya Street, when coupled with the wings perpendicular to it, are marked out by spectacular risalits having a quarter of a circle in the plan. A similar risalit was applied by the architect Y. Dimitrenko in the above-mentioned next house.
Original window sashes
Despite the impressive dimensions, the house of Lutskiy has only two entrances and one back door, which can be reached from the courtyard. Facades finishing finds a logical continuation in the interior of the entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street. Even a framing of concrete mosaic landings is made in Art Nouveau style. (!) The most interesting of them is located at the foot of the stairs, in the lobby, and is reproduced in pattern nowhere.
Entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street, concrete mosaics
On the left there is a nonfunctional door to the utility room covered by a subtle and refined carving. Over it there is a small fascia with a keystone and scrolls around the edges supported by corbels. Opposite it, in order to keep to the symmetry of the lobby a similar fascia is located, but there are no apertures under it. The walls of the lobby are finished with moulded frames in the best traditions of decorative Art Nouveau, supplemented by mascarons. The gap between the lobby and the staircase is decorated by a fanciful twist of narrow decorative bands.
Entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street, the lobby
Entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street, the utility room door
Fascia over the door
Entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street, decoration of the lobby
Here Art Nouveau in stone ends and begins in wood. A staircase has marble steps and concrete mosaic landings. Railings of widespread sample are eclectic. The walls are covered with classic frames, found in a number of buildings of the late eclecticism. Only magnificent carved doors, window frames and framing of concrete mosaic landings are in Art Nouveau style here.
Entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street, the staircase
Entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street, the doors
Entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street, the windows
Entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street, the handrails
Entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street, a frieze of the staircase
Some of the apartments still carry traces of former magnificence in its design. On the third floor, for example, a niche with a statue of the ancient style and paired corbels with small mascarons supporting joists were preserved.
Entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street, one of the apartments
Similar corbels-mascarones are located in the entrance hall of the wing in Nakhimov Lane and keep the aperture beam between the lobby and the staircase. The lobby ceiling is decorated with moulded coving and rosette; handrails are similar to the rails in the entrance hall on Marazlievskaya Street.
Entrance hall of the wing in Nakhimov Lane, the lobby
Entrance hall in Nakhimov Lane
The doors of eclectic style are plain.
Entrance hall of the wing in Nakhimov Lane
Window frames remain the only element of Art Nouveau style of the staircase, and their performance is different from the window frames of the first entrance hall.
Entrance hall of the wing in Nakhimov Lane, the doors
Coving under the lap of the staircase
The staircase here is more cramped and less illuminated (indicating the location of simpler flats in the wing in Nakhimov Lane than the ones on Marazlievskaya Street). In the same entrance hall, on the landings, niches probably intended for floor vases or statues were preserved.
Entrance to the stairs of the back entrance is located at the corner of the courtyard, at the junction of courtyard wings. The stairs are made of concrete mosaic and have inexpensive handrails without any decorative frills.
Stairs of the back entrance
The apartment house of Lutskiy can be called one of the key works of the architect M. I. Linetskiy. Many elements of its design were subsequently used in other buildings. For example corbels with mascarons similar to those described, decorate the stair lobby of the house on 66, Nezhinskaya Street and Egyptian stylizations were continued in the house on 14a, Marazlievskaya Street. Despite, however, such self-citations in projects, Linetskiy was able to achieve uniqueness in each of built houses. And despite the large number of similarities and parallels with other buildings (not just Linetskiy authorship), Lutskiy’s apartment house lost part of the facades decoration and badly decayed is, however, one of the most significant examples of early Art Nouveau ornamentation in Odessa.
The most significant chapter in the history of the house is now imprinted on a memorial plaque on the corner part of the building facade:
„In this house, in 1910-1911, a Russian writer Aleksandr Ivanovich Kuprin lived“.
A. I. Kuprin
Here it is also set a portrait bas-relief of the writer. His daughter, K. A. Kuprina in the essay „Kuprin — my father“, writes:
„My father traveled almost all of Middle Russia, liked many of its cities, districts, landscapes, but a special place in his heart occupied Odessa ... At the end of August 1909 we moved to Odessa, where soon rented an apartment with a view of the sea.“
In those years A. I. Kuprin wrote some great novels and short stories that in some way reflected life in Odessa. These are „Gambrinus“, „Garnet Bracelet“, „Listrigony“, „Lenochka“ and some others. About the city Kuprin later wrote:
„... looked everywhere for life smells. Among dockers in Odessa port, thieves, magicians and street musicians there were people with unexpected biographies — visionaries and dreamers with a wide and tender soul.“
It can be said that Kuprin self-forgetfully lived a life of Odessa. With the fishermen he went to sea to catch mackerel and plaice, dressed in a diving suit sank into the water near Hlebnaya harbor, yielding to the magic of the circus, participated in the French wrestling. From the territory of the present racecourse flew in a balloon, and later with the pilot Ivan Zaikin — by plane. This flight ended in crash, but Kuprin and Zaikin got off, fortunately, only with injuries. In Odessa, the writer became close friends with I. Poddubny, S. Utochkin, an artist Nilus ... In Odessa, he began the second part of the story „The Pit“ ...
The house of Lutskiy is connected with another outstanding name. In 1925-36 in this house a scientist in the field of hydraulics prof. V. N. Pinega lived. Later a ship was called by his name.
References and Archives
- „Architects of Odessa“. B. Pilyavsky
- „Architecture of Odessa. Style and time“. B. Pilyavsky
- „Buildings, structures, monuments of Odessa and architects“. B. Pilyavsky
- An article on building in a blog Antique
- An article on Marazlievskaya Street on the website about Odessa
- Reference book „All Odessa“ 1903.
- Reference book „All commercial and industrial Odessa“ 1914.
- „Along Marazlievskaya…“. Publication of Tatiana Zayarnaya
- Old photographs from the website of Odessa photos. Archive of the user brassl