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.”
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).