Oil on canvas
130 х 98
State Russian Museum
David Sterenberg’s personal perception of the world was not only formed at La Ruche in Paris, but was also influenced by the sleepy and provincial Zhitomir. This Ukrainian town was possibly behind his poetic representations of a leisurely and unhurried world, or simple, everyday objects and his love of modest settings and borderlands. The loneliness of this bowed old woman, her simple enumeration of the earth’s modest gifts and the magnetic, frozen expression in her eyes create a strong dramatic effect. Beyond the image of the peasant woman lies a whole series of associations, drawing the viewer’s attention to the social and philosophical questions. The still life in the portrait, which indicates her poverty, works as a lyrical accompaniment to the principal melody, a portrayal of life itself.
Sterenberg, David Petrovich (1881, Zhitomir — 1948, Moscow)
Painter, graphic artist, theatrical designer, and book illustrator, David Sterenbergstudied at a private studio in Odessa, before attending Académie Vitti in Paris from 1907 to 1912. His work was shown since 1912 at exhibitions such as Salon De Printemps, Salon d’Automne and Salon des Indépendants in Paris (1912–1917). Sterenberg was Commissar for Art in Petrograd from 1917 to 1919, head of the fine arts department at IZO Narkompros (1918–1920) and amember of the Four Arts Association. Throughout the 1920s, hetaught at the Higher Art and Technical Studios/Higher Art and Technical Institute in Moscow and was a founding member and chairman of the Society of Easel Artists. Director of the Russian section of Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes (Paris, 1925), member of the Union of German Book Artists (1928) andfirst deputy chairman of the Moscow branch of the Union of Soviet Artists (1932–1937), Sterenberg washonoured as an Arts Worker of the RSFSR in 1930.