Zinaida Serebriakova

Zinaida Serebriakova
Zinaida Yevgenyevna Serebriakova (née Lanceray) was a Ukrainian/Russian painter active in the early 20th century.

Born near what is now Kharkiv, Ukraine into a well-to-do family, she studied at an art school under the direction of Ilya Repin, and went on to study with noted portraitist Osip Braz. She also traveled to Italy and Paris, studying at museums where possible.

Her work over time carried elements of Realism, Impressionism, Art Nouveau and Expressionism. Her subjects included landscape, still life and figures, but her primary interest was portraiture. In addition to portraits both formal and informal, she frequently painted and drew her children and created several self-portraits, the most famous of which (image above, top) helped establish her career.

She also found dancers of particular interest, featuring them in many compositions, as well as her own daughter in dancers garb from her classes (above, bottom).

Serebriakova worked in oil, water media and pastel. Some of her pastels of dancers have a Degas-like character.

After a tragic period following her husband’s sudden death, the rise of the Soviet Union and the closing of its borders left her in France, unable to return, and separated her from her two eldest children for a number of years. She eventually took French citizenship, residing in Paris for the remainder of her life. She traveled extensively and a number of her works are from her travels in Morocco and North Africa.

[Suggestion courtesy of Eric kelly]