Constantin Westchiloff studied under Ilya Repin at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. In 1912 he was appointed an official painter for the Naval Ministry and embarked on an artistic career as a marine artist.
He painted using a bright palette and painterly a la prima technique. A donkey at the gate embodies Westchiloff's late oeuvre and reflects the influence that Impressionism had upon the artist during his travels in Europe. After leaving Russia in 1922, Westchiloff travelled extensively in Europe and the United States before finally settling in New England.