Serebriakova Zinaida

Reclining nude paper, pastel, 1930

Zinaida Serebryakova (1884-1967) – a famous Russian artist of the first quarter of the XX century, originally belonged to the highly talented families of Benoit and Lansere. The daughter of the famous sculptor E.A. Lansere. After the death of his father, along with his brother, the future schedule E.E. Lansere, was brought up in the family of his grandfather (maternal) N.L. Benoit, a Petersburg architect. Having not received a systematic art education, he owes his enviable professionalism primarily to the Benoit-Lansere environment, and even more to his own efforts and the most severe requirements for himself. The artist impressed the audience, both at home and abroad, with the integrity, perfection and sharp modernity of her work. She studied drawing in the Tenishevskaya workshop with I. Repin, and also visited the workshop of O. Braz. She worked continuously on nature, mainly in Neskuchny, a small estate near Kharkov, making sketches, landscapes, portraits, among which images of local peasants predominated. In 1912, the artist joined the World of Art association, with many members of which she was connected by friendly and family ties. During the revolution, Serebryakov suffered family tragedies. A few years after the death of her husband and the burning of the estate, in 1924, the artist with four children left the country and left for Paris.

The leading genre in the work of 3. Serebryakova was a portrait. Interest in him arose in his youth and grew stronger while studying with O. Braz. Her portraits are distinguished by great artistic merit, have significant interest, since on them the artist portrayed for the most part typical representatives of the Silver Age.

Models of portraits were women, mostly relatives and acquaintances, whom she knew and trusted well. Along with oil painting, an important place in the artist’s work was occupied by pastel technique. Their background is hardly outlined, they are emotional in their incompleteness. A peculiarity of the imaginative solution is understatement, which creates the feeling of a living light draft. This technique allowed Serebryakova to write a series of expressive portraits in bright colors. This picture is not an exception. The portrait is full of warmth and tenderness. Expressive large eyes fixed on the viewer. As in many other works, the face and hands are carefully drawn in this, while everything else is outlined in outline. The bed gives subtle and sometimes airy effects, soft tone and glorifies femininity. Portraits of Serebryakova are marked with a correct pattern, strict modeling of shapes and locality of color. This portrait depicts Mrs. Beilitz, wife of Simon Beilitz – one of the leading dealers of Russian art in Paris in the 30s. Many works from Beilitz’s Paris collection, which featured canvases by famous Russian artists such as A. Benois, K. Korovin and others, were successfully sold at various auctions around the world.

Whatever Zinaida Serebryakova created – thematic canvases or portraits, she represented the image of a person harmoniously perfect by the body and spirit.

Zinaida Serebryakova, a famous graphic artist and painter, was a man of difficult fate. After fruitful years of creativity in the revolutionary period, the artist disappeared from the field of view of art lovers for several years. But in the early 20s she declared herself as the creator of poetic female images, air ballerinas, city landscapes and still lifes. A few years later, the artist was faced with new difficulties. Driven by the need to support four children and an elderly mother, Serebryakova went to Paris, where she knew the minutes of true success and decades of complete oblivion, lack of orders and poverty, she survived the global economic crisis of the 30s and World War II.

Despite the difficulties, the fate of the artist granted amazing travels, from where she constantly drew inspiration for her work. Such were Serebryakova’s trips to Morocco. For the first time, the artist got into the atmosphere of Muslim Africa in December-January 1928/1929. The artist herself in a letter from Africa writes: “Everything to the extreme struck me here – and the costumes of the most diverse colors, and all the human races mixed up here – Negroes, Arabs, Mongols and Jews (quite biblical) …” In just a month and a half of stay more than sixty works were created, including portraits, landscapes, and even genre scenes, half of which were shown immediately upon arrival at the exhibition at the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery in Paris, the second trip took place three years later.

This is a truly captivating series of art drawings. Sometimes, it’s even amazing how in such fluent sketches the artist was able to accurately and convincingly convey the whole soul of the East. According to her stories, Serebryakova painted literally with lightning speed, since the strict laws of the Eastern faith forbid people to pose, and she had to literally “catch” models for a small fee. She worked on pastel portraits for no more than 30 minutes, and at the same time her sketch is a finished work of art. She was attracted by posture, slim figures, decorative robes and jewelry ar

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