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Demitri Vail

Posted by Dr. William Gorman 
Janet Lawton
Re: Not there
June 04, 2005 12:17PM
I am Dimitri's neice, my father Richard A. Vail was his brother. I have never met him, he never came back to Columbus after leaving, however, my father got to go to his 65th birthday party in Dallas after Johnnie Jones, of the Columbus Dispatch located. Dimitri. I have a portrait of my father that he painted at that time but have never seen any of his other works. I understand he has done some of the Ohio Governors, but I have not been able to locate them. I have never met any of his children or his wife but would like to. My husband is also an artist, specializing in landscapes. I would love to be able to meet his family and/or get more information on him and see his works.
Re: Not there
June 04, 2005 01:46PM
I would be willing to mail what little I have. I know two different people started biographies of him but apparently they are not published. One of the articles said a painting done of Lyndon Johnson was at the Presidental Library in Austin. Dmitri said his first commissioned painting was of the mayor of Columbus. He had two sons and a daughter. His obituary in 1991 listed his daughter as living in Pensacola, Florida. One son Stuart fell into an empty swimming pool in the depression and died as a small child. Victor Vail said his grandmother was a fine artist and she painted a full length portrait of Stuart which disappeared in the 1960's.
There was a portrait up for auction last year of his dated 1932 of a distinguished man signed R. Dmitri Vail. He said h left when the depression hit and went to Chicago but had no success. He then went to California and did portraits of army officers near Vallejo and even of winning news carriers around the country for their newspaper employers. And finally even in sign shops. By 1940 he had moved to Corpus Christi for two years and then two years in San Antonio before coming to Dallas. He had a small studio in Oak Lawn and his career took off after meeting and marrying Dorothy Walker who was a well to do woman from a banking family. She had the social connections and he had the skills. After a long marriage she died and he remarried,
He did say he acted badly in leaving his family in columbus and chalked it off to being wild and young.
Janet Lawton
Re: Not there
June 05, 2005 08:13PM
Thank you for the response. It was very interesting. I also have a brother and sister still living, my sister met Dimitri in Dallas before he died. I would love to meet his children if at all possible. My husband and I spent the winter in FL this year, maybe next year we could meet his daughter there. Any names and/or addresses would be appreciated.
Cousin of yours?
June 08, 2005 10:50AM
Hello Janet,if you will look here on the Index you will find a Stephen Watson,his grandmother was Dmiti sister.He is also trying to find out about the whereabouts of the paintings.This could turn out to be a geneaology find.
Dmitri Vail
June 08, 2005 01:01PM
Anyone who is related to Dmitri Vail please respond. I am looking for any family I may have left. My Grandfather was Richard Vail, his brother was Dmitri Vail, my Father's name was James R. Vail. I also have an Aunt named Janet, Jenny and a Uncle named John Vail and also I found one of my cousin's Victor.
Thank You Kindly
Re: Dmitri Vail
June 13, 2005 01:35AM
Sorry, can't help with any relatives, but you might be able to help us...Dmitri's name has come up numerous times on this site, and many of us have had questions about him that no one can seem to answer. When you have time sometime, please use the 'search' function and pull up the many, many posts from the last couple of years about Dmitri (also mis-spelled on some posts as 'Demitri', so please check that as well.) Thanks, and glad to have you here!
owner of portrait
June 23, 2005 03:06PM
I actually own a portrait of my grandfather Tomas Pollard who was a lawyer in Tyler, Texas. After he died in 1962 or 1963, my grandmother had Dmitri Vail paint his picture in 1964 using a photograph. It is a simple portrait of his torso with a sort of halo, a yellow V coming down to the necklie from just below the top corners. It has base colors and red tints in the black background below the V. My grandfather is in a black suit with a white shirt, so he blends into the black background but his face matches the yellow background on the top. The effect is that the head arches out of the painting a little. My grandfather is remembered for his friendliness, so it suits his temperament to come down out of the painting when you look up at him. The painting changes colors with the change of light in my room. Red, blue, and green tints come forward and fade. It is not in the sun, but the brightness in the room changes it. At night it is dark; by day it is light. It is a piece you have to live with to understand what the light actually does to it. Any museum would not do the lighting right (like the Rothko paintings in the Tate Modern in London). It belongs in a house. My grandmother was fond of saying that my grandfather had a sparkle in his eye when she met him. That is how she know that she would marry him. That is also in the eyes. My mother remembers that he did not sign his name to the portrait until my grandmother wrote a check for the promised fee of $5000 for it. She was there when it happened. Unfortunately for all of you, I now live in Almere, the Netherlands, so you cannot pop in to see it. The Dutch light may have something to do with the success of the background. I have enjoyed learning more about the painter. I was born in 1968, but I have to say that Vail sure captured the spirit of my grandfather for his widow in this painting. Sincerely, Tomas Pollard
Re: owner of portrait
June 30, 2005 08:59AM
I also own a portrait he did of his brother, my father. If my father were standing here today, he would look like that picture. When I look at it, I remember my father, it is so life like, it is if he is standing before me and time had stopped. I am so glad the Johnnie Jones of the Columbus Dispatch located Demetri and my father (Richard) got to see his brother before he died in 1976. That portrait may not be worth the thousands of dollars to people that didn't know my father but to me it is and some day, I will hand it down to probably my son. I have sure enjoyed reading things on this site about an uncle I never met.
Re: Dmitri Vail
June 30, 2005 09:14AM
My dad worked for the District Clerk, Bill Shaw for 35 years. They both retired on the same day. There was a huge portrait of Mr. Shaw hanging on the wall of the clerk's office for years. Dmitri Vail's paintings were excellent.
Re: Dmitri Vail
June 30, 2005 06:00PM
There is a 2 story office building on the east side of Stemmons between Empire Central and Regal Row. The tenant was an airline (I believe oriental like Singapore Air or such). The first floor gallery held the greatest collection of Vail portraits I've ever seen (30 or 40) including many celebs such as Debbie Reynolds I distinctly remember. It was like a museum and you could view them for free. The building is still there but I don't know about the paintings. Last time I was there was 1988 or so. I think I'll check it out.
Re: Cousin of yours?
June 30, 2005 07:07PM
Dimitri Vail was my grandfather. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but my Mother was his only daughter as far as I know. I never dreamed there was still an interest in him.
Re: Dmitri Vail
June 30, 2005 07:13PM
I have never responded to a site before, but he was my grandfather. He had three children William, Roger, and my mother. I never met him. This was when he was in Ohio. I just came to see if there was anything on the internet that would show a picture of him.
Re: Dmitri Vail
June 30, 2005 08:04PM
There was a nice collection of paintings at the old Sheraton Hotel at Kiest & Highway 67. There was a painting of my grandfather (Judge Joe B. Brown Sr) that was on display there, but that was in the late 70's. Would love to know where the collection is today...
Re: Dmitri Vail
July 01, 2005 08:40AM
Was it in the building that looked like a pyramid with the point cut off?If it is my uncle was a guard there when it was being built.Please let us know if you do......
Re: Cousin of yours?
July 01, 2005 08:44AM
Hello,I am sorry you never did.What a shame,so many little ones never know their grandparents so much could have been learned about your history if you had.I always loved his works even as a little one,and sometimes you get to thinking of things you remember,and this was one of those things.It sure did open a can of worms didn't it?But maybe it is for a good thing.Hopefully something can be found out about all of his works.
Re: Dmitri Vail
July 01, 2005 08:48AM
Your grandfather married my husband and me in 1972.Too bad he did not have it in his will somewhere that if anything happened to him that the painting would go to the subject.Unless it was owned by someone else.That would have saved so many problems..
Re: Dmitri Vail
July 01, 2005 04:14PM
It is a 2 or 3 story building with 2 wings at a 120 degree angle much like the shape of an airliner's wing.
Re: Dmitri Vail
July 05, 2005 01:41PM
Hey, Jessica -
Are you Barbara & Bud Scholl's daughter? If so, this is your cousin Victor.
For those out there interested in Dmitri's offsrpings (from his FIRST marriage)... He married Dorothy Mosier (not sure when, but their firstborn - my dad - was born in 1921). With Dorothy Mosier (who later went on to become Dorothy Beebe, and then ultimately Dorothy Brownlee), they had 4 children together: Robert William (born 1921), Barbara, Roger (born 1926), and Stuart (who died when he was about 4 years old). I'm not sure when Dmitri (who was named Robert, back then) "left" his first family, but it was most likely somewhere around 1928 or so.
Unfortunately, all of Dmitri's abovementioned offsprings are no longer with us. Too bad, too - 'cause all the offsprings were wonderful, colorful individuals. I miss them all - especially my dad.
Re: Dimitri Vail
August 04, 2005 12:12PM
I am currently restoring 100 paintings and drawings by Dimitri Vail. The owner of the paintings would like to have a Dallas show of the paintings and also like to locate other works. If you can help us find anyone who knows of any works in Dallas or other areas of the country,please contact us at aarongartt@aol.com. This is a project helping restore the works of a great artist and promoting a local artist from the Dallas area. With sincere regards and hopes that this project will help all concerned, I am Aaron Glenn Artt
Re: Dimitri Vail
August 05, 2005 10:19AM
Hi,I was just wondering if I may where did you aquire all of these paintings.They have been lost for years and NOONE knew where they were.They were in litigation all of this time,has all of that been settled to allow them out in the open?If so how wonderful,how long will this process take,long time I figure.Have you contacted the family as they would be anxious to see all of them.Please keep us abreast of any developments and possible dates of viewing.Who will be paying for the work?Is there some sort of trust or something?Thanks
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