The New York Times gives Maria Baibakova the Styles treatment, including this pocket biography of her intercontinental up-bringing:
Raised in Moscow in the final years of the crumbling Soviet Union, she recalls standing in a bread line when she was 3. At 5, she tasted her first banana. “It took me half an hour to eat it because I would bite it off in really, really small bites to get the taste out of it,” she said.
Things looked up after the fall of the Soviet regime. Though her father had an engineering degree, he plunged into entrepreneurship, stringing together deals big and small.
But the political situation in Russia at the time seemed tenuous. So when she was 10, she and her mother, Tatiana Broushlinsky, moved to the United States and settled in Fort Lee, N.J., where she excelled first in public school and then at the prestigious Dwight-Englewood School, where she ran track and played basketball.
She continued her arts education after college, with a one-year master’s degree in London at the Courtauld Institute of Art, which she described as “anti-market leftist academia.”
Even so, she kept one foot in the commercial gallery world, as a consultant to Sotheby’s, the Gagosian Gallery and other institutions that were trying to tap into the sizzling Russian art scene. Though she was only 21 at the time, she had the social savvy to make connections.
“They needed an in-between agent,” she said. “They didn’t have anyone older because the older folks wouldn’t have been educated in the West.”
Maria Baibakova Is Finding Her Place in the Art World (New York Times)