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Alexei Alexeievich Harlamoff - Two girls

Alexei Alexeievich Harlamoff

Two girls

Oil on canvas: 18.3(h) x 26(w) in / 46.4(h) x 66(w) cm
Signed in Latin lower left: Harlamoff

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ALEXEI ALEXEIEVICH HARLAMOFF

Saratov 1840 - 1925 Paris

Ref: BZ 255

                                               

Two girls

 

Signed in Latin lower left: Harlamoff

Oil on canvas: 18 ¼ x 26 in / 46.4 x 66 cm

Frame size: 26 x 34 ¼ in / 66 x 87 cm

 

 

 

 

Provenance:

Private collection, USA

Richard Green, London, 1985;

Private collection, USA, acquired from the above in 1991

Richard Green, London

 

Literature:

Olga Sugrobova-Roth & Eckart Lingenauber, Alexei Harlamoff catalogue raisonné, Edition A. Harlamoff, 2007, p. 226, no.203, pl.188, illus. in colour

 

 

This is a painting from Harlamoff’s most creative period. After he had successfully exhibited portraits at the Salon in Paris, the artist turned to portraits of children and young girls. He freed himself from his earlier, rather dark color palette. Then his richly coloured paintings adopted a fresh and modern vibrancy though he stylistically remained faithful to an Old Master tradition.

 

Compositions with two (sometimes three) girls, who can be seen playing, sewing, knitting, or sorting flowers, belong to Harlamoff’s particularly attractive and decorative work. In such pictures the artist showed his talent in composition and also in rendering the children’s natural movement and facial expressions.

 

The little heroines of Two girls being friends are to be seen in some other pictures by Harlamoff. The left figure resembles girls of the group ‘The curly golden hair type.’ The other girl recalls ‘The Ufa type.’ The obvious, but slight variations speak in favor of the painter’s desire to give each depiction of the girl a unique, unrepeatable character.

 

The background of the picture is formed by the plastered wall. The crumbling plaster produces a lively play of light and shadow. This motif was one of Harlamoff’s favorite backgrounds: it allowed him to apply a surface with his famous vibrating brush strokes, without overloading it with superfluous details.

 

 

Dr Olga Sugrobova-Roth and Eckart Lingenauber, authors of the Alexei Harlamoff Catalogue Raisonné

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALEXEI ALEXEIEVICH HARLAMOFF

Saratov 1849 – 1925 Paris

 

Alexei Alexeievich Harlamoff was born at Saratov, Russia in 1849.  He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg and won a gold medal and a travel scholarship in 1868 for his painting The Return of the Prodigal Son.  This enabled him to go to Paris, where he remained, working with the great portrait painter and teacher at the École des Beaux-Arts, Léon Bonnat (1834-1922).  His work was exhibited in the Russian section of the Décennale exhibition of art produced between 1889 and 1900, which was part of the World's Fair held in Paris in 1900.

 

In his early career, he painted many genre and religious subjects, learning his skills by copying Old Master paintings such as Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson in the Mauritshuis in The Hague.  He also became a respected portrait painter, with such important sitters as Tsar Alexander II and Prince Demidoff.  Perhaps his most beloved subjects were informal portraits of peasant girls.  These sitters were painted for their beauty and innocence rather than their fame.  Harlamoff eloquently evoked the symbolism of the flower representing the short-lived innocence of youth so popular with artists of the end of the nineteenth century, while capturing a uniquely Russian ambience in the details of dress and facial features.

 

Harlamoff was also interested in the range of emotions within facial expressions; his A girl in a white veil with her charming, contemplative gaze is an excellent example.  It was probably the sweet, smiling expressions of his Children playing with Flowers that drew the admiration of Queen Victoria when she saw it in the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1888.

 

The work of Alexei Harlamoff is represented in the Alexander III Museum in St Petersburg, the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow and in the Brobinksi Collection.

 

 

 

Other Works By
Alexei Alexeievich Harlamoff:

Alexei Alexeievich Harlamoff - Portrait of a girl