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Lot 24: ALEXEI ALEXEEVICH HARLAMOFF

Russian Art

by Sotheby's

April 26, 2006

New York, NY, USA

Alexej Harlamoff (1842-1922) Please Register/Login to access your Invaluable Alerts

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Description: PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, CHICAGO

RUSSIAN, 1842-1915
PEASANT GIRL RECLINING

PEASANT GIRL RECLINING

measurements
29 by 41 1/8 in.

alternate measurements
73.7 by 104.5 cm

signed A. Harlamoff (lower left)

oil on canvas

NOTE

Harlamoff was born in Saratov, Russia. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, and won a gold medal and travel scholarship in 1868 for his painting entitled The Return of the Prodigal Son. The stipend enabled him to study in Paris at the École des Beaux Arts under the great portrait painter and teacher Léon Bonnat and soon thereafter Harlamoff's technical virtuosity earned him the nickname the ``Russian Bonnat.'' At Bonnat's suggestion, Harlamoff traveled to Spain in 1874 to study and copy the work of Velasquez. In 1875 the great Russian marine painter Alexei Bogolyubov (see lot 8) visited Harlamoff's bustling Parisian studio and commented on Harlamoff's popularity, for whom ``everyone predicts a brilliant career.'' In the same year, Harlamoff exhibited his portraits of Louis and Pauline Viardot to great acclaim, marking a turning point in his career and bringing him notice from the great French writer Emile Zola who thought them marvelous, and Harlamoff in turn, `` a debut of a great talent.'' Writer Ivan Turgenev was enchanted with Harlamoff's "little portrait-heads," and claimed Harlamoff was his favorite artist. In 1883, a writer for Novoye Vremya noted the extraordinary demand for Harlamoff's work from both private collectors as well as dealers from London and Paris.

The glorification of the peasant was a popular subject in the 19th century and Harlamoff was most likely influenced by the great French academic master and Salon giant, William Bouguereau (see fig. 1) in his own rendition of a supine peasant girl. Harlamoff is most renowned for his masterful portraits of young peasant girls, chosen for their beauty and innocence and the present lot ranks among his most evocative and masterful.

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