Valentin Serov

Valentin Alexandrovich Serov (19 Jan. 1865 – 5 Dec.1911); Russian painter, and a premier portrait artists of his era.

Born in Saint Petersburg, son of Russian composer and music critic Alexander Serov, and his wife and former student Valentina Serova also a composer in her own right. Raised in a highly artistic milieu he was encouraged to pursue his talents by his parents and in his childhood he studied in Paris and Moscow under Ilya Repin and in the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts (1880–1885) under Pavel Chistyakov. Serov's early creativity was sparked by the realistic art of Repin and strict pedagogical system of Chistyakov. Further influences on Serov were the old master paintings he viewed in the museums of Russia and Western Europe, friendships with Mikhail Vrubel and (later) Konstantin Korovin, and the creative atmosphere of the Abramtsevo Colony, to which he was closely connected.

The greatest works of Serov's early period were portraits: The Girl with Peaches, and The Girl Covered by the Sun. In these paintings Serov concentrated on spontaneity of perception of the model and nature. In the development of light and color, the complex harmony of reflections, the sense of atmospheric saturation, and the fresh picturesque perception of the world, there appeared the features of early Russian impressionism (though Serov was not yet aware of works of French impressionists at the time of making those paintings).

From 1890 on, the portrait became the basic genre in Serov's art. It was in this field that his early style would become apparent, the paintings notable for the psychologically pointed characteristics of his subjects. His favorite models were actors, artists, and writers....

The best works of Serov are among the greatest of Russian realistic art.... A 2016 exhibition of Serov's work at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow attracted record crowds which queued for long hours in freezing temperatures. Following...
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First Collected by

Jim Luce


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