Dimitri Shipounoff Biography

Dimitri Shipounoff




French-based wood gilder, antiques restorer, and artist Dimitri Shipounoff (also known as Jim Shipounoff) was born on November 5, 1945 in San Francisco, California to second-generation Russian emigres, the grandson of a Tsar-era militia man who fought the Bolsheviks before fleeing Russian for China, Japan, and finally San Francisco. There, Shipounoff's grandfather started a chicken farm and raised a family.

Dimitri Shipounoff would eventually work as a picture framer in Berkeley, California. He took courses in literature, Slavic languages, and art history at UC Berkeley until 1975, when he abandoned academics to travel throughout Europe, exploring the gilding craft. While there, he learned the art of woodcarving and gilding and returned to the U.S. to open his own framing studio, and was known for his ornamental and period frames. Interested in the Northern California Arts and Carfts period, in 1979 he wrote the introductory biography of artist Charles Keeler for the reissue of Keeler's The Simple Home (1904), which is often considered the best biography of Keeler.

Shipounoff continued to train for several years in Paris, France, recarving and restoring 15th through 18th century frames at his atelier and, in 1983, he found permanent work Capendac in southwest France, where he continues to live and work.