Maria is the daughter of artist, Jaroslav Lobanovsky and singer Olga Mamontoff Lobanovsky. As a young child her parents and grandfather, Nicholas Mamontoff, encouraged her to express herself through painting and drawing. She majored in art and fashion design in high school. Upon graduation, she continued in Fine Arts at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and taught art at Francisco Junior High in The City’s Marina district. Currently, she applies her artistic skills to interior and landscape design. Her interests also include photography, abstract expression and the exploration of new mediums.
Maria is the author of three books. She wrote The Lobanovsky Family Table in 2010 and published Drinks and Zakuski in 2011 (see The Lobanovsky Family Table page for more information). Her most recent ebook, The Russian Sweet Tooth is available on Amazon.com. Contact Maria at email@example.com.
Jaroslav Lobanovsky was born in Zhitomir, Russia. Prior to the revolution he attended Military Academy in Kiev where he originally honed his artistic skills. As one of the Junkers guarding the Winter Palace he ultimately fled to Berlin, Germany and embarked on a 20-year dance career during which time he performed with major ballet companies throughout Europe. Lobanovsky’s artwork first became a source of support while he lived in Copenhagen awaiting his visa to North America. Shortly after his arrival in the U.S., he returned to dance as a performer in the Platoff and Don Cossack choirs. In 1945 he became Artistic Director for USO Unit 19, and danced his way around the United States, from Quonset huts to the naval carrier, Midway. Post USO, Lobanovsky opened a ceramics studio called “Ballerina” and sold works through elite San Francisco gift stores. His artwork, expressed through virtually every medium, serves as a documentary of his time in Europe through the rest of his life in America. His signature piece is a life-size sepia charcoal on board of Marilyn Stevens, the classical ballet dancer in USO Unit 19. For the full story click here.
Olga Mamontoff Lobanovsky (1913 – 1993)
Olga Mamontoff was born in Oksha, Russia the younger of the two Mamontoff children. She lived in Siberia with parents and older sister, Cleopatra, until age five when the family moved to Manchuria due to the turmoil of the Russian revolution of 1917. During the following nine years in northern China, the Mamontoffs became Chinese citizens until the family immigrated to San Francisco in 1927. Olga graduated from St. Rose Academy and earned a degree in business from Heald College all the while studying voice and drama. She was among those of the Russian community who entertained at the opening festivities of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in 1937.
Olga’s studies paid off initially when she contracted for two seasons to sing with the San Francisco Opera in the early 1940s. She was a popular and treasured singer who also performed at many events in the Russian community. She was actively involved with the Russian Veterans Association for which she was crowned Queen of the Invalids’ Ball, San Francisco, as the highest fundraiser of 1947.
When Olga moved to Hollywood she joined the Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG) and worked in several films, among them Song of Russia. Following its release she felt patriotically drawn to join the USO Hospital and Camp Shows domestic circuit’s Unit 19 as the lead, classical soprano for the Russian Revels. This multi-talented and diverse ensemble spent five years traveling throughout the U.S. entertaining American troops recuperating from injuries sustained in WWII.
Also in 1947 Olga married Jaroslav Lobanovsky, co-founder, character dancer and artistic director of the Russian Revels. She and her husband chose San Francisco as their permanent home. Upon retiring from the USO Olga pursued a career with the U.S. government for the next 25 years. Though an accomplished entertainer and businessperson, Olga was most proud of her role as grandmother, which she assumed with great joy and dedication in the latter chapter of her life.
The Family Crest (1109)
The legend of origin of the Rogala arms alleges that in the year 1109, King Boleslaw Wrymouth, returning from campaigning in Prussia and Pomerania, stopped at Raski to rest and divert himself with hunting. In the course of the hunt, a wild bison attacked him. One of the knights present, a member of the Biberstein clan, seized the bison by his horn, and wrestled him to the ground, tearing off his horn in the process! Subsequently, the King added a bison’s horn to the original Biberstein arms and changed the gold of its field to silver. The newly augmented arms were called Rogala [the horned]. The date asserted seems implausibly early.