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Portrait of Princess Zinaida Yussupova. 1902

Serov Valentin,
Oil on canvas
181,5 x 133

State Russian Museum

Пост.: 1925 из Юсуповского дворца-музея, Ленинград; ранее – собрание князя Ф.Ф. Юсупова, графа Сумарокова-Эльстона, Петербург


Zinaida Nikolaevna Yussupova (1861–1939): Daughter of Prince Nikolai Yussupov and Princess Tatyana Yussupova. Married Count Felix Sumarokov-Elston.
One of the leading Russian fin-de-siècle portraitists was Valentin Serov, who painted many society portraits from the 1890s onwards. This particular work is part of a series of portraits of the Yussupov family painted by Serov at the start of the twentieth century. Princess Zinaida Yussupova was the last member of this old aristocratic family. She is depicted at her country house in Archangelskoe near Moscow, a magnificent mansion famed for its great luxury and beauty. Serov was charmed by Zinaida’s quick mind and natural manner. The sitter’s nobility is highlighted by the clear composition, the enamel-like texture of the painting, and the refined gold-pink tones sharpened by patches of dark-green and black. Deprived of “chic” and serious in concept, Valentin Serov’s masterly and elegant picture was a major step forwards in the development of the official Russian portraiture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Author's Biography

Serov Valentin

Serov, Valentin Alexandrovich
1865, St Petersburg - 1911, Moscow
Painter, graphic artist, teacher, portraitist, landscapist, history painter. Son of the composer Alexander Serov. Studied under Ilya Repin in Paris and Moscow (1874-75, 1878-80) and under Pavel Chistyakov at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1880-85). Academician of painting (1898), full member of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1903-05). Member of the Abramtsevo circle (from the 18705). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1889). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1890-99; member from 1894), Munich Sezession (1896, 1898,1899; member from 1899), Exhibition of Russian and Finnish Artists (1898), World of Art (1896-1906, member from 1900; 1911-12, founding member), Berlin Sezession (1903), Exhibition of Historical Russian Portraits at the Tauride Palace in St Petersburg (1905), Union of Russian Artists (1905-10; member from 1903), Sergei Makovsky Salon (1909), Exposition Universelle in Paris (1900, grand prix), International Exhibitions in Munich (1909), Vienna (1902), Venice (1907), Brussels (1910) and Rome (1911) and the Exhibitions of Russian Art in Paris (1906, 1910), Berlin (1906) and Vienna (1908). Member of the board of the Tretyakov Gallery. Taught at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1897-1909). Designed for theatres in Moscow and St Petersburg and Sergei Diaghilev''s Saisons Russes (from 1886).

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