We would like to thank Dr. Olga Sugrobova-Roth and Dr. Eckart Lingenauber for providing additional catalogue information. This work will be included in their forthcoming catalogue raisonné.
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION
Harlamoff's oeuvre encompasses a classical repertoire of themes including that of young apprentices at work. Harlamoff shed light on the labor of young seamstresses, and he often returned to the subject throughout his career. Sometimes he depicted seamstresses together in small groups, and other times he painted just one girl, deeply engrossed in her work. As was typical in his later oeuvre, Harlamoff painted this composition with a freer brushstroke, most visible in the decorative elements.
The rural interior suggests the location where Harlamoff probably painted this work. In the late 1860s and then regularly after 1872, the Russian artistic community left Paris to summer at Veules-Les-Roses. This charming seaside resort near Normandy lured both painters and writers, and it even served as inspiration for the masterpieces of certain Russian landscape painters, including Vasily Polenov. Even Ilya Repin, famous for his portraiture and history painting, created some marvelous landscapes there. Harlamoff loved these surroundings, and he even purchased a house with a large studio at Veules-Les-Roses.
The kitchen table in the present composition also appears in several other Harlamoff paintings, including one of a group of seamstresses (see: Sotheby's, New York, 24 February 1983, lot 87).