Seweryn Leopold Obst was born in 1847 in Kosiv Raion, Ukraine and educated in Galicia and Volhynia, before studying at the Academy of Fine Arts, in Vienna. In 1874, he returned home and made his living painting portraits of noble families, afterwards he settled in the Hutsul region, where he painted local scenes, collected folk stories and objects and made ethnographic studies. He created two albums of sketches of decorative motifs from metal working, carving, weaving and embroidery, which were later presented to the Dzieduszycki Museum in Lwów. Obst moved to Lwów (then officially Lemberg) in 1883, where he specialised in illustrations for books about peasant arts and crafts. He died in Lemberg, Poland in 1917.