Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Salon: Russian Painter Zinaida Serebriakova (1884 - 1967)

Her first painting to gain accalim, a self-portrait of the young Zinaida. Probably still her most recognized.

 The painter's husband, railway engineer Boris Serebriakov.

Self-portrait with brush.

Self-portrait with two of the painter's children.

Tata with Vegetables 1923

Katya Still Life 1923

In the Kitchen 1923


Self-Portrait as Pierrot 1911

At breakfast 1914

House of Cards 1919

Portrait of A.J. Belodorodov 1925

The artist's daughter Katya, 1929

Portrait of Maria Butakova 1931

Katya, the artist's daughter, 1934

Senegalese Soldier 1918

Bleaching Cloth 1917

Harvesting 1915

Ballerina Dressing Room 1923

Ballet Dressing Room 1922

Bather 1911 (Possibly a self-portrait)

Moroccan Woman in White 1928

Bathers on the Beach 1927

Self-Portrait 1907

Zinaida Serebriakova (1884-1967) was a Russian painter - one of the first women to gain acclaim as such - of enormous talent. She came from a well-to-do artistic family and studied art not only in Russia, but in Italy and France as well. She married, had four children - all of whom became subjects in their mother's work.

After the onset of the Russian Revolution in 1917 and her husband's death, the artist and her mother and four children were forced to abandon the family's plundered estate. Interestingly, she then switched for awhile to charcoal, pastel and pencil as these were less expensive mediums than oil paint while she continued trying to earn a living as an artist. I think her pastel work is just as fine as her oils. I love the spontaneous feel of it.

Serebriakova moved her family to Petrograd where she shared an apartment (as was Soviet protocol) with other tenants. Luckily, these tenants were member of the Moscow Art Theater and Serebriakova was able to focus her work on theater life.

In 1924 Serebriakova received a commission to paint a mural in Paris. She went to France, planning to return to Russia (then the USSR) but was unable to. She was allowed to send for her two younger children, but was not able to see her older two for many years - she would not see her daughter Tatiana for another 36 years.

In the meantime, Serebriakova took French citizenship in 1947. She died in 1967 and is buried in the Russian Cemetery at St. Genevieve des Bois.

Zinaida Serebriakova's work is extraordinary in that the artist, despite what must have been difficult years of separation from two of her children, appears to concentrate on the beauty she was still able to find in life, in the people she came in contact with in her travels.

Though some paintings of her children seem filled with symbolism, they are not so heavily loaded down that it interferes with the artist's incredible technique and finesse of movement and design. Her work is instantly recognizable, most especially those self-portraits which show a beautiful, young and self-assured young woman gazing out at the world.

To learn more about Zinaida Serebriakova and see more of her work, please use this link. See also this link.

Soviet stamp honoring Zinaida Serebriakova - 1988


  1. Hi, Yvette,

    Thank you for introducing me to Zinaida Serebriakova. I spent a lot of time going through the extensive gallery of that first link, and what especially impressed me was the sureness of Serebriakova's color sketches. She had what I think one would call an unerring eye.

  2. You're welcome, Mark. I'm glad you liked Serebriakova's work. I stumbled over her paintings here and there a few months ago and have been wanting to do a post.

    She really should be much better known considering the brilliance of her work.

    Yes, I agree - she had an unerring eye.

  3. I have a painting which I think is by Zinaida Serebriakova but is has not got a signature it has got a monogram which comprises of a capital S over the top of another letter which is partially obscured it possibly is a Z ,do you know if she ever used a monogram


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