Portrait of a woman
Portrait of a woman

Gerasimov, Sergei Vasilevich

1885 - 1964

Portrait of a woman

Oil on board

c 70 x 50 in

c. 1940

Signed on reverse



Swedish private collection

Portrait of a woman is a fine work by Sergei Gerasimov.  On a bright sunny day the women is depicted in profile, hand on hip, wearing a headscarf and looking to her left.  She has a deep tan from working outside through the Russian summer and presents an image of health and vitality which was prevalent in Soviet painting at this date.  Gerasimov made numerous studies en plein air at this date for the major multi-figure compositions which are now scattered around the Russian museums.

Sergey Vasilyevich Gerasimov (RussianСерге́й Васи́льевич Гера́симов; 26 September [O.S. 14 September] 1885 in Mozhaysk, current Moscow Oblast - 20 April 1964 in Moscow) was a Soviet Russian painter.

Gerasimov was one of the most important of all Soviet artists. A student of Konstantin Korovin as a young artist he later went on to join the Makovets group. His early watercolors are considered masterpieces and show a tendency toward modernism that is less pronounced in his later work. In the 1920s and 1930s, he taught at the state art school Vkhutemas, and designed posters and painted works sympathetic to the new Communist government in a style later known as Socialist realism.

Despite this he was known throughout the Russian art world to be a liberal thinker whose paintings showed the influences of Impressionism and other modern movements. Under Joseph Stalin these tendencies placed him in aesthetic opposition to his arch-nemesis (and ironic namesake) Alexander Gerasimov.

During the Stalin era, Sergey Gerasimov was demoted from his position of director of the Russian Artists' Union and replaced by Alexander Gerasimov. During the period of World War II, Sergey Gerasimov, along with most of the faculty and student body of the Surikov Art Institute were moved from Moscow to the ancient caravan city of Samarkand.

Some of Gerasmov's most famous works were painted during this period and show scenes of the old oriental city of Samarkand. Many of these paintings are on display to this day at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. With the death of Stalin and the rise of Nikita Khrushchev, Sergey Gerasmimov was re-instated as the head of the Russian Artists' Union, a position he held until his death in 1964.

Some of Gerasimov's most famous students that he came in contact with and taught at the Surikov Art Institute include; Fedor Z. Zakharov, Vladimir Stozharov, Alexey and Sergey Tkachyov, Yury P. Kugach, Aleksei GritsaiGely Korzhev, and many other important Soviet artists.

Selected works





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