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Alexei Alexeievich Harlamoff - Portrait of a girl
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Alexei Alexeievich Harlamoff

Portrait of a girl

Oil on canvas: 18.1 x 15 (in) / 46 x 38.1 (cm)
Signed in Latin lower left: Harlamoff

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Saratov 1840 - 1925 Paris

Ref: BZ 257


Portrait of a girl


Signed in Latin lower left: Harlamoff

Oil on canvas: 18 1/8 x 15 in / 46 x 38.1 cm

Frame size: 28 x 24 ¼ in / 71.1 x 61.6 cm










Aitken Dott & Sons, Edinburgh

Private collection, UK, then by descent



Olga Sugrobova-Roth and Eckart Lingenauber, Alexei Harlamoff: Catalogue Raisonné, Dusseldorf, 2007, digital addendum, A 44-P




During the second half of the nineteenth century, Russian artists sought to break away from the establishment’s previous dependence on European art and to reaffirm their national heritage. This national spirit boosted genre painting and with it an interest in culture and traditions. At that time, Russian artists could roughly be divided into two groups: the ‘Peredwischniki’ also called ‘The Wanderers’ or Society of Itinerant Art Exhibitions (1870-1923), realist artists who aimed to examine everyday life and Russian history in an unvarnished way, and the other ‘group’, who were mainly concerned with the creation and appreciation of beauty. Throughout his life, Harlamoff emphasised beauty as the key component of his art and of the aesthetic experience. He saw beauty in depicting almost exclusively young girls. Historical portraits represent only a small part of Harlamoff’s oeuvre, along with landscapes and still lifes.


The present work represents an idealised young girl with features of a real sitter. Harlamoff may well have created this portrait from a life model in his studio. The beautiful girl is rendered in profile with some of her thick, red hair tied up at the back. A golden headdress of coins catches the light above her fringe, as well as a coin necklace around her throat. Harlamoff’s skilfully smooth rendering of the girl’s features and complexion is enlivened by the broader style with which he depicts her hair and the dark background, adding vitality to the image while simultaneously creating a foil for the sitter’s luminous profile. The immediacy of the image is captivating. Harlamoff masters the fundamental problem of portraiture, the relationship between the physiognomic expression of the model and the expressive possibilities of the artwork by paying particular attention to the sitter’s naturally expressive face, her features, complexion, lighting and especially her gaze, to create a sensitive, animated and intense masterpiece.

Other Works By
Alexei Alexeievich Harlamoff:

Alexei Alexeievich Harlamoff - The young model


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