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Girl in a Sports Shirt. 1932

Samokhvalov Alexander,
Tempera and oil on canvas
102 x 64

State Russian Museum


Girl in a Sports Shirt won a gold medal at the World Fair in Paris in 1937. One of the most famous works of Soviet art, it was regarded as a landmark in the artist’s oeuvre. Alexander Samokhvalov recalled: “It was a special joy to paint images of my contemporaries in those years.” The painting was acclaimed by fellow artists and critics alike, while the heroine was hailed as a “Soviet Mona Lisa” at the Exposition Universelle. The artist depicts Yevgenia Adamova, a teacher and activist who retained her freshness and vitality all her life. She is a typical Soviet citizen of the 1930s — spontaneous, enthusiastic and purposeful. Samokhvalov confirms his ideal of a simple beauty not only in his model, but also in the painting — austere, laconic and elegant.
The clear architectonics of the composition, broad painting, frescolike texture and dynamic image contain features of monumentality. Girl in a Sports Shirt embodies the artist’s concept of the era and “a remarkable contemporary, the sort of girl who did not exist before.”

Author's Biography

Samokhvalov Alexander

Samokhvalov, Alexander Nikolaevich
1894, Bezhetsk (Tver Province) - 1971, Leningrad
Painter, graphic artist, theatrical designer, applied artist, sculptor. Studied architecture at the Higher School of Art, Imperial Academy of Arts (1914-18) and at the Free Art Studios/Higher Art and Tech¬nical Studios in Petrograd (1920-23). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1917).

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