Milovsoroff was born in Altai, Siberia, in 1907, and moved
to the United States when he was 20. He was a charter member of the Puppeteers
of America, and his career as a puppeteer spanned the decades of the 1930s, 40s
and 50s. During this period, he produced fourteen complete programs and two
delightful public service films: “Muzzleshy,” a gun safety film, and
“Poison in the House,” about accident prevention. He also created a
number of drawings or “doodles”. In the 1950s, Milovsoroff became a
professor at Dartmouth College, where he served as the Chairman of the
Department of Russian Language and Director of the NDEA Russian Language
Institute. After 15 years of teaching, in 1972 he retired and returned to the
world of puppets through sculpture and exhibition. He continued to experiment
with the puppet as an art form, integrating its visual form with sound and
movement, color, light and shadow.
The distinctive style of his art grew from an early discovery that to exaggerate or distort the puppet form was to free it from the limits of imitation. The recipe for a Milovsoroff creation: start with a root or branch with intriguing form, accentuate its features by carving, then add a few mushrooms for ornamentation, a spring for a neck, marbles for eyes, found materials for the hair and dress, or a tea kettle for a head. The whimsical humor of this strange collection of features in no way detracts but rather adds substance and reminds us that in fact these creatures all have some story to tell if we but let them.
Curated By: Peter Milovsoroff