Levi was a Russian painter born in Kharkov in the Ukraine. As a young man he published satirical new stories in the local press about the Russian-Japanese War, entitled "Diary of the ordinary", accompanied by his own drawings. He exhibited at local exhibitions in Kharkov from 1900-08. On graduating in law from St Petersburg University, he served as a jury of the judicial district of St Petersburg. In 1916 he left the service and devoted himself to painting full time. In 1918 he settled with his family in Terijoki in modern Finland. He lived and worked in Paris from 1930 to 1939 when he moved to Stockholm. He remained there until his death in 1954.
Levi was a great fan of the most celebrated Russian painter of the time, Ilya Repin, and on settling in Terijoki in 1918 sought his idol out. The two became great friends and Levi became his agent and keeper of the flame, organising Repin’s exhibitions across the globe. His work is held in the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris.
Before World War II Terijoki was renowned for its magnificent long sandy beaches and its beautifully carved wooden villas. Owing to its favorable climate Terijoki contained numerous spas and during the summer seasons tens of thousands of tourists flocked to the area. A new era dawned on the area after the Riihimäki - St. Petersburg railway was opened in 1870. The town's location on the coast near St. Petersburg attracted a wealthy and international crowd of summer visitors and towards the end of the 19th century a brief but glorious "villa era" began. The Russian revolution and Finnish Independence in 1917 put an end to this era. The border towards Soviet Union was closed. After Finnish Independence Terijoki again became a popular resort, known as the "Riviera of the North". This time it was Finnish visitors who frequented the beaches. Before the Soviet attack on Finland in 1939 the inhabitants of Terijoki were evacuated to other parts of Finland. When Finnish troops reoccupied Terijoki in 1941 about 150 inhabitants were able to return. Another evacuation ensued before the massive Soviet attack in 1944. Following World War II the inhabitants of Terijoki were mainly resettled in southern Finland. At this point the town received its Russian name, Zelenogorsk, and it was populated by Soviet citizens from other parts of the Union. The Terijoki Trust (Teri-Säätiö) was founded after World War II after the county of Viipuri had been handed over to the Soviet Union according to the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty, and the Finnish town of Terijoki had de facto ceased to exist. The Trust preserves the heritage of Terijoki and also supports the economic and cultural interests of former inhabitants and their families.
The Terijoki Club (Terijoki-Seura) acts as a forum for former inhabitants of Terijoki and their families. The Club collects historical and cultural records of Terijoki and aims to preserve its heritage. The Club also records various types of historical material relating to Terijoki. Might be worth offering it to them if it doesn’t sell!