A sultry summer day, plenty of potato salad, sparklers, and dazzling bursts of color at the evening fireworks are all part of 4th of July fun. Although the concept of freedom underlying Independence Day as a philosophical construct was a bit abstract for my thoughts as a child growing up in the United States, I had no doubt about its importance from listening to my father, a Korean War veteran, speak in reverent tones about the privilege of living in a free country.
For Xenia (née Schlee) Kamlookhine (1894-1980), her sense of freedom was based on a first-hand knowledge of the alternative. She was born in Russia in 1894, and, given her mother’s encouragement to be an artist, Kamlookhine took lessons at a young age, later enrolling in the Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. At this prestigious school she had the opportunity to study with the Russian artist Nicholas Roerich (sometimes referred to as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh), who achieved fame for designing sets for Diaghilev’s remarkable ballet company, the Ballets Russes.
Smith JM. UntitledXenia Kamlookhine. JAMA. 2013;310(1):16-17. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5185