Zinaida Serebryakova 1884-1967 | Russia
Zinaida Yevgenyevna Serebriakova was the first female Russian painter of distinction, as a master of portrait, genre scenes from the life of peasantry. She was born near Kharkov into one of Russia's most refined and artistic families. In 1900 she entered the art school founded by Princess M. K. Tenisheva. She studied under Repin in 1901, and Braz between 1903 and 1905. Between 1902-1903 she spent time in Italy, and from 1905-1906 she studied in Paris. At the outbreak of the October Revolution in 1917 Serebriakova's life suddenly changed. In 1919 her husband Boris died of typhus contracted in Bolshevik jails. She was left without any income, responsible for her four children and her sick mother. She did not want to switch to the futurist style popular in the art of the early Soviet period, nor paint portraits of commissars, but she found some work at the Kharkov Archaeological Museum.
In 1924, she went to Paris, having received a commission for a mural. She intended to return to the Soviet Union. However, she was not able to return, and although she was able to bring her younger children, she could not do the same for her two older children and did not see them again for many years. After this, Serebriakova traveled a great deal. In 1928 and 1930 she traveled to Africa, visiting Morocco. In 1947, she became a French citizen, and it was not until Khruschev's thaw that the Soviet Government allowed her to resume contact with her family. Serebriakova's works were finally exhibited in the Soviet Union in 1966. Her albums sold by the millions, and she was compared to Botticelli and Renoir. However, although she sent about 200 of her works to be shown in the Soviet Union, the bulk of her work remains in France today.