Plato(n) Cornelius von Ustinov (Baron)
(also Ustinof, Ustinoff, Ustimow, Ustinow)
(also Tonshik, and without "von")

October 21 1903 - January 26 1990

Moulders' and Foundryworkers' Union
B.C. Society of Fine Arts (Member 1929-1960, VP 1951, President 1952-1953)
B.C. Society of Fine Arts/B.C. Society of Artists: Exhibitor's Timeline
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts
Atelier Sketch Club
Salt Spring Island Art Group
Leisure World Art Association

"Russian Wizard Causes Near Panic"

Platon von Ustinov was born in Jerusalem in 1903, the son of a Russian Baron who was an archaeologist. His brother was known as a spy for MI5 prior to World War Two, and his nephew was Peter Ustinov the actor.

Ustinov was a student at Oxford, England, at the Royal Academy of Art at Stuttgart, Germany, and at the Ecole Speciale d'Architecture, in Paris, France.

He came to Canada in 1927. He was an instructor of life drawing and painting at the Vancouver School of Art.

In 1933 he had a studio at 1087 Bute Street, along with a number of other artists and art teachers.

Portrait of Oswald Karl Miniato, 1933, courtesy Paul Miniato

He had one-man exhibitions at the Alexander Reid & Lefevre Gallery in London, 1926, and at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1933, 1936, and 1939.

He was a member of the B.C. Society of Fine Arts, and exhibited his work with them in May 1929 and 1930, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1941, 1942, from 1950 to 1955, and in 1958.

He showed work in the B.C. Artists Christmas exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1933.

He exhibited his work as a guest in a 1936 exhibition of the PASOVAS Art Club, held at the Vancouver Art Gallery. He also exhibited in the annual B.C. Artists shows from 1932 to 1942, 1944, 1947, 1950, 1951, 1952, and 1955.

Portrait of Maestro Fabri, 1935 silver medal winner

A handwritten letter on file at the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, sent in preparation for the exhibition, noted that Ustinov was the "winner of the 1935 Beatrice Stone medal".

Ustinov exhibited in Royal Canadian Academy of Arts exhibitions in 1938 and 1939.

In 1939 Ustinov attended the Vancouver School of Art summer camp on Savary Island, and was noted in issues of THE SAVARY PUDDING. He exhibited two paintings from Savary Island that September in the B.C. Artists 8th Annual exhibition.

UBC Evening Classes 1944-45

During World War Two, he was employed in a foundry. He showed work in the 1944 B.C. At Work exhibition. His painting The Foundry in the 1944 exhibition won the second prize of $150.00, and was illustrated in WALLNEWS in March 1945, which also noted about the artist: "Palestinian-born son of a Russian archaeologist; studied in Paris, Munich, Stuttgart; came to Canada in 1927; precision caster and metal pattern maker in war plant; member Moulders' and Foundryworkers' Union (CCL)." The painting depicted men in a foundry pouring molten metal out of a bucket into a casting form.

He was an instructor for the Saltspring Island Group, a local artists society in the Gulf Islands, in at least 1948, according to information on file at the Vancouver Art Gallery Library.

He was a member of the Atelier Sketch Club, a group formed by art students taking Evening Classes at the Vancouver School of Art. The group put together an exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1940.

Invitation to a 1971 solo exhibition in Vancouver:

You are cordially invited to attend
a preview showing of paintings by
Plato (Tonshik) C. Ustinov
on Thursday, October 28th, 1971 at 7:30 p.m.
Seip's Art
2610 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C.
Public showing from October 29th to November 13th
Refreshments will be served

Ustinov died in Laguna Hills, California in 1990.

1933 July 7 - 16 Drawing, Oil Painting & Watercolours VAG
1936 Nov. 10 - 22 Sketch-book Portraits VAG
1939 Feb. 7 - 19 Oil painting, Watercolours, Drawing, Prints VAG
1971 Oct. 29 - Nov. 13 Paintings Seip's Art, Vancouver

1929 May 18 - June 8 BCSFA   21st Annual Landscape
Portrait Sketch, Rachmaninoff
1930 May 31 - June 14 BCSFA   Spring Exhibition Portrait of Mr. F.L.
Portrait Miss A.W.
Portrait Mr. L.D.
Portrait Mr. O.F.
1932 Oct. 5 - 30 VAG   B.C. Artists 1st Annual Head (sculpture)
1933 Sept. 22 - Oct. 15 VAG   B.C. Artists 2nd Annual Portrait
1933 Dec. 1 - 17 VAG   B.C. Artists Christmas Exhibition Near the Fraser
Second Beach, Stanley Park
Snow in the Mountains
1934 Sept. 21 - Oct. 14 VAG   B.C. Artists 3rd Annual Portrait of a Lady
Portrait of a Lady
Railway Yards
Breeze and Sunshine, English Bay
Miniature Portrait Bust (Mr. P.)
Animal Study
1934 ? - ? VAG   B.C. Artists Edmonton Exhibition Portrait of a Lady
Railway Yards
1934 Dec. 4 - 16 VAG   B.C. Artists Christmas Exhibition Rocky Shores
Virgin Forest
1935 Sept. 20 - Oct. 15 VAG   B.C. Artists 4th Annual Portrait of Maestro Fabri
Portrait Sketch
1936 Feb 21. - Mar. 5 PASOVAS   Art Club exhibition Mill on the Fraser
1936 June 26 - July 12 BCSFA   26th Annual Portrait, Gordon McDonald
Nancy Nelles
Dr. Anderson
1936 Aug. 18 - 28 David Spencer B.C. Artists' Golden Jubilee (artwork)
1936 Sept. 18 - Oct. 11 VAG   B.C. Artists 5th Annual Impression
1936 Oct. 15 - 20 VAG   B.C. Artists Chilliwack Exhibition Impression
1937 April 16 - May 1 BCSFA   27th Annual Portrait, Mrs. Arthur Nation
Vancouver Waterfront
Study in Grey and White
Mills on the Fraser
1937 Sept. 17 - Oct. 10 VAG   B.C. Artists 6th Annual Scavengers of the Dump
Study - "Old Ranger Bill"
Young Man
1938 April 29 - May 15 BCSFA   28th Annual The End of False Creek
1938 Sept. 16 - Oct. 9 VAG   B.C. Artists 7th Annual Master Peter
Idle Tugs
1939 Sept. 15 - Oct. 8 VAG   B.C. Artists 8th Annual High Noon, Savary Island
Heavy Skies, Savary Island
Portrait Sketch
Portrait Sketch
1940 April 2 - 14 Atelier Sketch Club   Group exhibition The Artist's Wife
1941 May 10 - June 1 BCSFA   31st Annual Master Arthur
Portrait of Mrs. Doris H. Kask
1941 Sept. 26 - Oct. 19 VAG   B.C. Artists 10th Annual Mary and Elizabeth
Portrait of Miss M.E. Price
1942 May 15 - 31 BCSFA   32nd Annual Corporal Brooks, R.C.A.F.
1942 July 7 - Sept. 2 VAG   B.C. Artists 1st Annual Summer Portrait of Miss McGuiness
1942 Sept. 25 - Oct. 18 VAG   B.C. Artists 11th Annual Portrait of Sylvia L.
The Clarinettist
1944 Sept. 23 - Oct. 22 VAG   B.C. Artists 13th Annual British Salt
1944 Nov. 21 - Dec. 10 Labour Arts Guild   1st B.C. At Work The Foundry
1947 Sept. 20 - Oct. 12 VAG   B.C. Artists 16th Annual Evelyn (Courtesy of Mr. Gavin C. Mouat)
1950 April 25 - May 14 BCSA   40th Annual "Maestro Fabri"
Boat House on the Fraser
1951 April 24 - May 13 VAG    BCSA 41st Annual John Avison
Sevitsky Rehearsal (Pastel)
1951 Summer Park Royal    BCSA Summer Exhibition Boat House on the Fraser
Ships at anchor
Point Grey Indian Village
Storms of Spring
1952 April 1 - 20 VAG    BCSA 42nd Annual "Nancy"
Portrait of Mr. M.H. Saar
1953 May 5 - 31 VAG    BCSA 43rd Annual Portrait Study
Suburban Cross Roads
1954 May 25 - June 13 VAG    BCSA 44th Annual The Happy Veteran
Vesuvius Bay, Salt Spring Island
1955 April 26 - May 15 VAG    BCSA 45th Annual Paul Russel
1958 Feb. 4 - 22 VAG    BCSA 48th Annual Portrait of Helen Gaynor


THE SAVARY PUDDING folio by Frederick A. Amess, private collection.
   Original drawings, paintings and text by Amess, C.H. Scott, Grace Melvin,
       H. Mortimer Lamb, Plato von Ustinov, and other students and visitors.
   June 1935 (various dates), June 1939 (various dates)
   52 loose 12"x18" sheets of brown sketch paper


WALLNEWS March 1945
   "Issued by Industrial Information Division Wartime Information Board. Production by National Film Board."
   Painting The Foundry by Ustinov illustrated.

100 YEARS OF B.C. ART (refer to VAG58)

THE FINE ARTS IN VANCOUVER, 1886 - 1930 (refer to THOM69)




      2 references cited for von Ustinov: RCA and WWNA above

     1 reference to Ustinov


CITY & PROVINCIAL DIRECTORIES 1933 (refer to DIR) (online biography)

Obituary, Vancouver Sun March 31 1990


"In the sculpture section, which is very small, Charles Marega, Beatrice Lennie and the Russian artist, Ustinoff, are the only ones represented."
      From "B.C. Artists Reveal Talent at Show"
      unknown newspaper, October 1932

"Ustinov Pictures at Art Gallery" by D.S.M.
      Vancouver Sun, July 11 1933

"Many other well-known artists are represented, including ... P.V. Ustinow ... "
      From "Bargains in Art" by D.S.M.
      Vancouver Sun, December 1 1933

"P.V. Ustinov Gains Beatrice Stone Medal"
      News Herald, October 10 1935

"... artists invited to join the club for the exhibition include: . . . P.W. Ustinow (sic) . . ."
      From "PASOVAS EXHIBIT - Pioneer Art Students' Show"
      Vancouver Province, February 21 1936

"For the first time several non-members artists have been invited to participate and one of the outstanding contributions from this source is "Mill on the Fraser," by P.V. Ustinow, who will be recalled as winner of the Beatrice Stone Silver Medal in 1935."
      Vancouver Sun (?), February 21 1936

"Most of British Columbia's many artists are represented. P.V. Ustinow, winner of the 1935 Beatrice Stone Medal for the most meritorious work in the Vancouver Art Gallery's B.C. Artists' Exhibition, is represented."
      From "400 B.C. Pictures in Jubilee Art Show"
      Vancouver Sun, August 15 1936

"There are exceptions. ... P.V. Ustinow, with his realistic "The End of False Creek," was another."
      From "Fine Showing By B.C. Artists Follows Conventional Lines" by E.N.B.
      Vancouver Province, April 30 1938

"Ustinov Art Show Pleases" by John Radford
      Vancouver Sun, February 10 1939

"Winner of the Beatrice Stone Medal in 1935 for his "Portrait of 'Maestro' Fabri," Mr. Ustinow is a British Columbia artist of distinction who has exhibited in our annual exhibition for a number of years."
      From Vancouver Art Gallery Bulletin, Vol. 6 No. 6, 1939

"In an informal little chat with Mr. P.V. Ustinow, he tells me that he has no clear recollection of just where he viewed the stars for the first time but he thinks it was somewhere between Stamboul & Nijninovgorod. He has distinct remembrances, as a youth, of riding for miles & miles - and miles - on the back of a camel across the desert wastes. Dates were common food to him then & many a night, sitting by an oasis where he was encamped, he has spent hours listening to the lusty tales of dark-bearded men wearing scimitars & bed-sheets - His mornings were generally spent in folding the tent, milking the goat, weaving rugs or drinking coffee. (as a coffee-maker he is without peer).
      He tells me that many of his happiest moments were spent chasing the soap in the basin of the Euphrates, that ancient river running between Jerusalem & Bagdad (with extensions at both ends). Such names as these roll trippingly off his tongue: St. Petersburg, Paris, Munich, Shavotzky, Omsk, Tomsk & Constantinople, Alexandria, Haifa, Berlin, Vladivostock, Lethbridge, Calgary & Marpole. He know the night-life of all these places. His favorite food is Haschti-Paschti, a richly spiced Eastern dish that takes 7 weeks to prepare. This dish is washed down by vodka. His favorite perfume is Camel-ia."
      From "Interviews with well-known people No. 1 Mr. P.V. Ustinow"
      Savary Pudding, June 3 1939

"With all this beauty round us we all feel that the men could do a little painting up. May we suggest:
      1. Plucked and arched eye-brows for the Scott
      2. Sanguine finger and toenails for Mr. A-mess
      3. Hot oil and Henna rinse for Shaggy-Shad
      4. A pin-curl special for Mr. Mortuary
      5. Rubinsteinís Plastic Pack for More Míduke Lamb
      6. AND ONE THING WE ARE SURE OF Ė (to reduce the Fire Hazard)
           the Baronís eyelashes singed, dimples blacklisted, perhaps Solitary Confinement."
      Savary Pudding, June 6 1939

"To the wild cheering of a hoarse-throated audience Baron Von Ustoff refused to be thrown by King Kong Freddie. Mr. Ustoff poured blood in a charming matched two piece suit of shipdeck grey."
      Savary Pudding, 1939

"Breath-taking feats and hair-raising acts made stout-hearted men fade away, and faint-hearted women ________ ? Fake stopping of the heart caused strong-minded Barbara to show the white feather. The knife act gave everyone the shudders, and he was only stopped from performing more horrible feats by the refusal of the audience to stand any more."
      From "The Russian Wizard Causes Near Panic"
      Savary Pudding, June 9 1939

"Artists represented in the group comprise the following ... P.v. Ustinow ... "
      From "Maritime Art Association"
      Vancouver Art Gallery Bulletin, November (?) 1939

"Congratulations are due to the Atelier Sketch Club for their ambitious exhibition. This self-organized group of evening school students are meeting every Friday in the Holden building and an invitation is extended to all students to join."
      From "Evening School" by Fred Amess
      Behind The Palette, Vancouver School of Art Annual 1939-40

"Atelier Sketch Club Takes A Bow"
      News Herald, April 3 1940

"Art Group, Youth Share City Gallery"
      Vancouver Province, April 4 1940

" ... together with oil and watercolour paintings by ... P. Ustinow ... all contribute much to this extraordinary show."
      From "B.C. Society of Fine Arts Display Sets New High Mark" by Palette
      Vancouver Province, May 16 1942

"In the black and white section "The Clarinettist" by P. Ustinow is a splendid piece of work ... "
      From "B.C. Artists Evading War's Responsibility" by Mildred Valley Thornton
      Vancouver Sun, September 26 1942

"Hung side by side, and yet in harmony, the visitor can enjoy on the same wall such varied products as ... a portrait by P.V. Ustinow ... "
      From "Summer Show at Gallery Major Event for Art Lovers" by Palette
      Vancouver Province, July 7 1943

"Mr. Ustinov hopes to be in Vancouver in time to assist with the hanging of our collection of watercolours which will arrive by Express."
      From "Letter re Saltspring Island Art Group exhibition"
      Personal correspondence, October 25 1948