Born in Russia in 1884, Makovsky later fled the Revolution and, like many of his fellow émigrés, ended up in Paris where he started a new life. A talented craftsman he honed his skills to the point where his inlay and mosaic work was of the very highest quality and his ability to paint pictures with mother of pearl and hardstones was simply unrivalled in Europe. He was inspired by the ancient Eastern art of lacquer work and much of his work depicts scenes of Oriental life and landscapes although his Russian heritage is also discernible in some pieces.
He worked with many of the most distinguished Parisian fine jewellery houses including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Lacloche Frères. His inlay panels and plaques were used in a variety of different objet such as jewelled accessories, boxes, vanity cases and ornamental clocks which were all popular during the 1920s and 30s.
His work also found its way to America where it was sold by fine jewellers such as Black, Starr & Frost and Charlton & Co. It was for the latter of these that he made one of his most extraordinary works, an exceptional inlay panel in mother of pearl, abalone shell and lacquer depicting a spectacular Chinese dragon which the firm of Verger Frères set into an Art Deco Chinoiserie clock to be retailed by Charlton. Unlike much of his work which went unsigned, this piece bears his characteristic signature of an ornamented black letter M.
His earliest known works date from about 1920 and the latest from the mid 1930s when it is thought that the style of his work, or perhaps more likely the type of objet that made a feature of it, fell out of fashion. Whilst his name is not widely recognised today, his work is highly regarded by collectors of Art Deco works of art and is admired by all who see it.