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Valentina Gorbatenko (Baba)


Valentina Gorbatenko was born in Vladivostok, Russia in 1910 and died in San Francisco, CA in 2011. Her family left the country before the revolution of 1917 and settled in Harbin China, where she began studying the piano. Exhibiting extraordinary talent her parents sent her to the Vienna Academy of Art and Music to continue her piano studies with Cesia Kaufler, student of Emil Saur. In 1931 Valentina graduated from the Academy with a doctorate degree and returned to Harbin where she began her career as a concert pianist.

In 1933, after numerous recitals she immigrated to San Francisco to further her career. Soon after she married George Gorbatenko where on her wedding night she was in a near fatal accident which required reconstructive surgery and considerable healing time. The economic atmosphere of the great depression hindered her solo piano ambitions so she began teaching. In 1937 she had her first of two children.

Mrs. Gorbatenko began studying art in 1973 and became an active member of "Sight and Insight," now the "O'hanlon Center for the Arts," where she was a prized pupil of the late Ann O'hanlon.  Between then and the year 2000, Mrs. Gorbatenko painted nearly 750 pieces. These works, still being cataloged, represent the many scenes, characters, and abstract ideas that Mrs. Gorbatenko witnessed throughout the 20th century. Half of the her work is currently available for public viewing in the "galleries" section of this website.

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